Here’s where the strings — and zingers — come in Con­certPRe­view

Winnipeg Free Press - Section E - - ARTS & LIFE - By Alan Small

ASECOND fringe suc­cess story in as many months makes his tri­umphant re­turn to a Win­nipeg stage tonight.

Con­duc­tor/co­me­dian Rainer Her­sch, who toiled at the Win­nipeg Fringe The­atre Fes­ti­val for close to a decade start­ing in 1994, takes over the Win­nipeg Symphony Orchestra ba­ton tonight at the Cen­ten­nial Con­cert Hall.

Just last month, Vic­to­ria co­me­dian Mike De­la­m­ont, the artist be­hind the God Is a Scot­tish Drag Queen fringe shows that have kept Win­nipeg fringe­go­ers in stitches over sev­eral fes­ti­vals, per­formed a one-nighter at the Pan­tages Play­house The­atre.

Per­form­ing at fes­ti­vals like the Win­nipeg fringe was a key ca­reer step­ping stone, Her­sch says.

“The Cana­dian fringe cir­cuit al­lowed me to do solo shows, to work out my style. It was a very for­ma­tive time for me,” says the 53-year-old Brit, who per­forms at con­cert halls across Great Bri­tain, Ire­land, Ger­many and Tur­key early in 2016.

He’s also branched out into ra­dio and tele­vi­sion since his fringe days, guest­ing on BBC and ITV shows in Bri­tain.

At the fringe, Her­sch of­ten per­formed his clas­si­cal mu­sic send-ups solo at the pi­ano. While the comedic premise re­mains the same when he leads or­ches­tras like the WSO, the dif­fer­ence is the amount of re­hearsal time to en­sure his comic tim­ing meshes with dozens of or­ches­tral mu­si­cians.

With the Win­nipeg Symphony Orchestra Cen­ten­nial Con­cert Hall Tonight, 7:30 p.m.

“The speed of your jug­gling can dic­tate to how the orchestra plays,” he says. “I want to choose where the con­nec­tion of the jug­gling and the mu­sic is most no­tice­able. I’ve cho­sen some­thing with a spe­cific tech­nique that lends it­self to the com­edy.”

Her­sch is of­ten com­pared to leg­endary Dan­ish co­me­dian Vic­tor Borge, who per­formed his brand of sym­phonic laughs with or­ches­tras around the world for decades start­ing in the 1940s.

“The longevity of his ca­reer in­spired me,” jokes Her­sch, “but comed­i­cally, I came to him af­ter I started do­ing this, really. I found that I wan­dered onto Vic­tor Borge’s turf.”

Her­sch’s re­turn to Win­nipeg has brought back many fond mem­o­ries of his fringe days. While he will per­form be­fore more than 1,000 peo­ple at the Cen­ten­nial Con­cert Hall tonight, he re­mem­bers telling his jokes be­fore a couple of dozen at a small stage at Royal MTC’s Ware­house the­atre in 1994.

He also re­calls Man­i­toba’s nat­u­ral phe­nom­ena.

“I re­mem­ber one time on one of my days off I went out to Lake Win­nipeg when those fish flies ap­pear,” he says. “When I woke up in the morn­ing they were on the car like a car­pet.”

Her­sch and the WSO will also per­form Sun­day at 3 p.m. at the Western Man­i­toba Cen­ten­nial Au­di­to­rium in Bran­don. Tick­ets can be pur­chased at wcma.ca.

SUP­PLIED

Con­duc­tor/co­me­dian Rainer Her­sch will join the WSO tonight.

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