Mark Nadler

Thu 23 Aug 2007

THE SCOTSMAN                                                Tschaikowsky (and other Russians)



A JOURNEY into passionate musicology essayed from a  unique perspective, Mark Nadler's one-man cabaret show brims with energy and an infectious lust for knowledge about his subject. Taking as his starting point the Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin-composed song which gives the show its title, a number from the musical Lady in the Dark which simply names 50 different Russian composers in its lyrics, Nadler sets out to explain how he remembers the words when he performs it.

What this entails is a biographical breakdown of the more interesting points of each composer's life, accompanied by snippets of their work played by Nadler on his grand piano. What sounds like a dry and scholarly exercise is anything but, as our host rattles through these tales with a demented vigour and an impressive musical ability of his own.

Noting the personal foibles of some composers - Scriabin's synesthesia, for example, or the fact that Mussorgsky sounded particularly sober for such a famed drinker - and historical events such as Stalin's forbidding of dissonance in music (leading the more adventurous composers to flee Russia and work abroad), Nadler's show is excitably camp yet rich in amusing detail. After all, as he notes, those artists who survive the generations are either singularly talented, or great for gossip.





















Tschaikowsky (And Other Russians)

Show tunes with stand-up

Armed with a truckload of sheet music, some forgotten musical gems and a biting Jewish wit, Mark Nadler is like a male Barbra Streisand on speed. Opening with the Kurt Weill/Ira Gershwin song ‘Tschaikowsky’, featuring the unpronounceable names of 49 Russian composers, Nadler moves his lips at breakneck speed. Then, remarkably, he dissects the song, introducing us to each and every one of them.

Which sounds as dry as an old twig, but in actuality is fun all the way. Nadler’s love and loathing for each composer is demonstrated through witty anecdotes and musical illustrations. Interspersing the history lesson with little known songs from the likes of Rogers and Hart, Sondheim and Gershwin, Nadler proves himself to be not just an accomplished singer and musician, but a natural comedian. (Kelly Apter)

Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 26 Aug, 5pm, £12 (£10).









Tschaikowsky (and other Russians)

Brilliantly deconstructing composers.

Tschaikowsky (and other Russians) (2007)
Mark Nadler
Assembly @ George Street. 2-26 August (not 6, 14). 17:00 (1hr10)


Tschaikowsky (and other Russians) is a patter song, which was famously performed by Danny Kaye in the Broadway musical 'Lady in the Dark' with music by Kurt Weill and lyrics by Ira Gershwin. In his one-man show, Mark Nadler bursts onto the stage and launches into this song listing 48 Russian composers at high speed. Nadler then deconstructs the whole thing, and takes the audience on an educated journey, picking out a good handful and giving a mini lecture recital on each. We get musical fragments, songs and sketches, including songs from Rogers and Hart, Kurt Weill and a moving, yet funny, rendition of Ugly Ducking (also originally sung by Danny Kaye). At one point he brilliantly accompanies himself tap dancing at the piano - not an easy feat!

Mark is multi-talented, bursting with charisma and energy - so much so that you just cannot take your eyes off him. He has a very commanding stage presence and will remind you of many performers like Liberace, Gene Wilder and Eric Idle. Cabaret doesn't get better than this. Mesmerising, educational and highly entertaining. [Kevin Stevens]







ThreeWeeks eDaily - Saturday 11th August



Tschaikowsky (And Other Russians)

Mark Nadler

If you are looking for a show that is a little more refined than usual Fringe performances, then look no further. A perfect mix between education and comedy, this one-man show revolves around a tongue-twisting list of forty-eight Russian composers, which Mark Naddler deconstructs and analyses to a standard that even the finest of historians would envy. An extremely talented pianist to boot, Naddler manages to play classical masterpieces such as 'Swan Lake' with ease while also doing theatrics. There's even a tap dance for 'Very Soft Shoes'. Constant hilarious remarks and awe-inspired limericks keep the tone light. As a rule I don't normally apply the word 'genius' after a first encounter, but this could easily be an exception to that rule.

Assembly @ George Street, 5 - 26 Aug (not 14), 5:10pm (6:10pm), prices vary, fpp 158.





                          www. one4review .com

                            Tschaikowsky (and other Russians)

Such energy! Such Passion! American Mark Nadler’s performance is utterly captivating. It is also highly idiosyncratic. Yes, he expertly provides piano snippets of Russian composers famous and not so famous. He does this with wit and panache. 

There is more to his act than simply cataloguing composers. He links Russian melodies with the American Broadway show tradition especially in the music of Gershwin. He has a strong and dramatic singing voice.

He is also something of a showman, with a bit of soft shoe shuffle whilst seated at the piano, and timing the precise moment to play Scriabin’s mystic chord. There are moments of pathos when he refers to the harm that Stalin wreaked on a whole generation of composers because music had to fit ideological requirements.

This is no serious, academic exposition but a joyous celebration of music from a complete entertainer.                                                                                   ****

                 ScotsGay Magazine


Tchaikowsky and other Russians with Mark Nadler

Assembly George Street  *****

Liberace with class and without the vulgarity of the fur! Frankie says Liberace on acid. Mark Nadler is a Full Service Entertainer, Actor, Singer, Pianist, Tap Dancer and Mind Reader, who first took to the stage as a child. A well established American showman who has just finished performing at the famous Carnegie Hall. In my opinion, he is what The Edinburgh Fringe is all about, finding a rare diamond in amongst a sea of semi-precious stones! Mark is worthy of The Official International Edinburgh Festival, as opposed to The Fringe, and should be invited to perform in future. He displays his outstanding memory, when delivering an unforgettable performance at break-neck-speed; he is truly a Pianist extraordinaire with flair. A master tutor, who takes us on a classical journey, with appropriate American popular songs which pit perfectly into his story. Mark takes the time to assist the audience with their memorising and learning the 48 Composers mentioned in the title song Tchaikowsky and Other Russians, while performing pieces of their work! We are taken through a colourful history, in snippets, of each Composers life, with lively humour and emotion. He even mentions the historically documented disgrace of Stalins artistic suppression of Composers which caused many to leave their homeland so they could pursue their passion - making history as they developed classical music. Mark tap dances while acting playing the piano and singing! I have seen hundreds of pianists but I have never seen any of this calibre, nor have I ever seen anyone Ride a Piano like Mark. Mark the piano and the stage merge into one being its truly transfixing. Atmospheric; passionate; emotional; enthusiastic; energetic, artistic and very memorable are just a few of the thoughts and emotions I left with after my second viewing. A very well researched, rehearsed, and pronounced show. The Ugly Duckling sung, interpreted and acted with great skill and a genuine passion and emotion it brings a tear to the eye His delivery of I cant get started is astounding, to hear a vocalist of this calibre is a rare thing on The Fringe, jaw dropping. Homeword/Manhattan Blue is sung full of depth, compassion, emotion delivered by one of the best trained vocalists I have ever heard; he puts me in mind of the lovely Holly Penfield, they are similarly talented vocally, and are as delightfully manic as each other this acts as a magnet to me as they are both extremely interesting and very very different, does Hollywood come to mind? This show is a must see for all, especially music lovers, pianists, music teachers and students, and all entertainers who will all learn a great deal from Mark Nadler. As one of the many people who are not classically literate I still found this show very interesting and educational at the same time as entertaining and funny, a show for all. A great Fringe night out begins with Mark Nadler in Tchaikowsky and Other Russians!

Jean Velvet

           FRINGE REPORT:


    VERDICT: UNFORGETABLE                             Smartly dressed and handsome in a (dark tail-coat and bowtie) before a grand piano, Mark Nadler might be confused with a regular, stuffy concert pianist. Fortunately, he has something much more exciting in store - an inspired concept that combines education and cabaret, as he races through the music of 49 Russian Composers. He creates a linear montage with snappy excerpts of each composer's music, interspersed with modern tunes, swing, jazz and juicy facts about the composers and the time in which they lived.

Mark Nadler's ingenuity lies in communicating the humanity of each composer, before introducing the music they created. Hinting at inspirations, and offering personal interpretations, he makes classical music universally accessible. Take his approach to the most famous Russian composer, Tschaikowsky: Mark Nadler outs the composer as homosexual, and explains that he never had a boyfriend, quoting from Tschaikowsky's letters to demonstrate the great man’s loneliness. He then ponderously plays a section of Tschaikowsky's Romeo and Juliet - the simple and romantic score moving and intensely sad after contemplations of its composer's isolation. The 'other Russians' of the show's title may be less well known, but are equally brought to life with snippets of information; details such as Alexander Scriabin's genetic condition, which meant that he saw colours when he heard notes, and the effects of Stalin's dictatorship on Dmitri Shostakovich's music.

To get through all 49 composers, the performer works at quite a pace, meaning that he only plays a few bars of each tune before moving on. There's a feeling of wanting more, and although his enthusiasm is integral to the show's momentum, it can become wearing towards the end. Mark Nadler is certainly a thrilling performer, tap-dancing under the piano, throwing discarded scores all over the stage behind him, and throwing every ounce of his energy into the show. It would be a gargantuan task to remember all of the 49 Russians. The show itself is unforgettable.

(c) Sara Pascoe 2007                                                                                  Tschaikowsky (And Other Russians)

If you can only see one musical show this festival, then choose this one. Mark Nadler puts a huge amount of effort into his performance, right from the very beginning, and he doesn’t stop for over an hour. He earns every applause given to him and then some more. This is music, comedy and historical facts all rolled into one. If you enjoy classical music, even if you only listen to it on Classic FM on the way to work and are a total amateur when it comes to Russian composures, you will still really enjoy it. The audience laughs so hard at his performance that tears roll from their eyes.


He combines music by the Russian composers (all 49!) with Broadway style songs as well as injecting boundless energy, enthusiasm and comedy by the bucket load into both. How he manages to do this seamlessly only he knows! He has a genuine, born gift for performing.




Keith Jones