“An absolute WTF of an album that provided the bowel-loosening soundtrack to a disturbing Russian circus at Glastonbury and Edinburgh festival. This one must have destroyed any young conservative on acid who got to close at Pilton”
WAS IST DAS, albums of the year 2013
Sound wizard Michael Begg offers breathtaking sound collages… a dazzling, intriguing whole. Even after 10 spins this reviewer had goosebumps on his arms and a cold shiver running up the spine… indicating Begg as a fucking master of his craft. After listening, your perception of music and the apocalypse may never be the same
Beautiful and extraordinary physical performance by Marcella Soltan
Driven by the three-way powerhouse of soundtrack, lighting design, and physical action, what looks to be burlesque romp dissolves into something far more dangerous. Omega is a truly total theatre… thrilling, uncomfortable, scary.
You will emerge blinking into the daylight shaken and stirred. Be warned.
“Omega is a very welcome reminder of just how high [the] bar has been set… it is often impossible to believe that human beings can actually move like this. It is also rare to see a production as technically polished… Far more than a show: this is a true theatrical experience.”
This Pandora’s box of bizarre and sinister images takes place at the rather un-cabaret-friendly hour of 2.35pm, and may leave you wondering what exactly it was you consumed for lunch.
a circus of horrors series of vignettes that vamp up their disturbing qualities to hysterical proportions… the cast demonstrate mesmerising nuance and skill… Flashes of arresting innovation.
There are unforgettable moments – the spiders that weave reality, the manic energy of the two chorus girls and
the final image of a lurking, sinister entity… A tableau of the Biblical story of Holofernes and Judith is erotic and disturbing.
Exhilaratingly gripping… a must see… but be warned, even the most intrepid fan of the gothic may find the characters stay with them a little later into the night than they would like.
A black, bleak mash-up of turns set to a full-on score by electronic composer Michael Begg. There’s smoke and contortions, a two-headed crooner, a dancing skeleton, and a frenetic nutcase with a feather on his head. Think Tod Browning’s Freaks crossed with David Lynch’s Eraserhead. I bet Madonna will put some of these tricks into her next tour.
JANET STREET-PORTER, INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
OMEGA Only a Russian company (blackSKYwhite) would offer such apocalyptic cabaret pleasures. Dark, unsettling and stunning.
THE LIST (TOP 5 CABARETS OF THE FESTIVAL)
At their best, the Russian bogey-clowns can corkscrew into your brain with impossible images, needling rhythms and enervating repetitions. Their tonal control is exceptional, their physical skill quite astonishing and their grasp of image and illusion world-class.
We were intoxicated, mesmerized and in awe
I have never seen a show with a more palpable hostility towards its audience… agonizingly loud (half the audience left; the other half cowered with fingers in their ears), grim and grotesque, intentionally obscure to the point of contempt… The production conveys nothing but sheer hatred for its audience.
An introduction to the recording by Michael Begg:
OMEGA:ost by Michael Begg | Human Greed is the result of an extraordinary collaboration I have had the pleasure of cultivating with Moscow’s blackSKYwhite Theatre Company. The company first came to my attention in 2000 when they visited Edinburgh with a show called Bertrand’s Toys. It was the darkest, loudest, most terrifying, magical, breathtaking piece of physical theatre I had ever experienced. They quietly picked up Fringe First and Total Theatre awards, and quietly disappeared.
I made an oath to myself there and then that I would work with them.
There then followed 8 years, or so, of elaborate courtship as I tried to ingratiate myself into their orbit. Finally, despite the complications of language and flawed technology I was eventually asked to provide the voices of angels for their performance, E.S.M.
Their Artistic Director, Dimitri Aryupin instructed me: “Begg, I need you to record a whisper. But think of this. You are holding an apple close to your mouth. You are about to bite it. Whisper to the apple. The apple is the Earth. Now to record this please”
And so it went.
In October 2012, Dimitri called up and asked if I would like to be involved in something new. A hoochie coochie freakshow for the end of time. A dusty, road worn carny of hucksters, monsters, apocryphal curiosities and sideshow horrors.
Identifying, uncovering and working up the clay into some semblance of life for this show has become an obsession. The soundtrack evolved with the “probes” of Dimitri and Marchella (Soltan – the peerless performer at the heart of blackSKYwhite) We didn’t know what we were looking for, but could feel it when it was getting close. We tried burlesque, jazz, the electronic erosions for which I am more commonly known – whatever worked, with whatever instruments in whatever condition
OMEGA:ost is the result of this collaboration. Some of the pieces on the recording feature in the current production of OMEGA. Others exist with the show in other times, other dimensions, other realms. This particular compilation contains a set of pieces that work as a whole – though I appreciate that there are shocks in store for those who are already familiar with my output to date. Especially those who acquire the bonus disk, чёрный стриптиз (Black Striptease) which is loosely attributed to Michael Begg’s Black Glass Ensemble. That, I think, will come as a surprise to many!
As well as the increasingly valued friendship and input of Dimitri there are one or two other folks who have helped in this work. Little Annie Bandez provided the voice of Frieda, Laura Sheeran provided some musical saw to introduce the arrival of the all consuming void, and my wife’s mother reads the part of Granny Void. In the bonus disk I became very much indebted to Sukie Smith (Madam) who provides a deeply and darkly sexy vocal to the song, Black Glass Striptease.