The Mnozil Brass traveled all the way from Vienna, Austria, to entertain with its comedic musical concert Feb. 12 in the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center.
“Mnozil Brass: Cirque,” which was divided into two acts, featured several smaller skits performed by the seven musicians. Each skit featured a small story or gimmick, accompanied by the brass instrumentalists.
The show featured little dialogue — the actors either mimed their way through silent dialogue or sang lyrics to the songs. The first word of the show was not spoken until late in the first act.
The music supplemented the action with its highs and lows. The musical ironies — such as “sforzandos” or “subitos,” which mean “suddenly” in Italian — helped define different actions and surprised the audience. The show was not merely a music or comedy act with one separate from the other — it combined the two genres.
Each of the actors wore outlandish makeup and absurd outfits, which perfectly tied into the kind of humor each brought to the stage.
One actor, who wore a top-hat and maroon jacket, did magic tricks. Later in the second act, the character that looked like a sad mime stole the top-hat and attempted several of the same tricks.
A recurring prop in the show was a red rose, whose petals eventually decorated the stage floor as it was ripped to shreds. Its stem was brought back from act to act. Other gimmicks included one actor walking around the stage swinging a blow-dryer in a circle by its electrical cord while turned on, creating a funneled sound effect.
In another skit, an actor pretended he was placing the stylus of a record player on a disc, as the band behind him started up. As he removed the stylus, the band stopped playing. He then removed the disk and replaced it with another, and the band began playing another song. This act was one of several silly gimmicks that the group performed to entertain the audience.
Luhrs arranged a meet-and-greet with several students in attendance at the show. Three of the performers spoke about their history and preparation for the event to students.
Mnozil Brass was named after the restaurant “Gasthaus Mnozil,” where the group first performed while they were studying at the Vienna Conservatory — in the same city where Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart performed centuries ago.
They did not have much of a vision back then, but after a few years they created plans and scripts for their acts. Only the first song of the show is improvised — the rest is composed and memorized. With the music memorized, they are free to act and joke around on stage as they please.
The brass group closed its performance with a surprising finale. The sad mime character removed his shoes and socks and used his feet to play the other performers’ trombones. He also used both his hands to push the valves on two other players’ trumpets. All the while, the performers used their free hands to carry the man around the stage while they kept playing.
Mnozil Brass will continue their “Cirque” tour in Austria on Feb. 27.