Electric Review

Culture & Criticism From the Far Distant Realms

Mozart In the Jungle

MOZART IN THE JUNGLE. Amazon TV. Directed by Paul Weitz. Starring Lola Kirk, Saffron Burrows, Peter Vack, Gael García Bernal, Bernadette Peters and Malcolm McDowell. Co-starring Constantine Maroulis, Joshua Bell, Bob Dishy and Hannah Dunne. Musical Direction by Roger Neill. Based on the book Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs and Classical Music by Blair Tindell.

Mozart In the JungleEarly in the episode, the symphonic orchestra is putting on a show: Malcolm McDowell is conducting, and Joshua Bell, the famed conductor/violinist, is playing something frantic that involves a lot of sixteenth notes. Both men are in a frenzy, and watching McDowell, I suspect he actually does conduct. With Joshua Bell, there’s no guessing; he is consummate.

The piece finally finishes, and the two men embrace after bowing to the orchestra and to the audience: “I hope I wasn’t too fast for you” Bell whispers. “Oh, no,” McDowell responds, “I thought you were rather sluggish.” Both turn and give the audience their widest smiles.

Thus, the tone is set for Mozart In the Jungle, an Amazon original that combines the best elements of Girls, This Is Spinal Tap and classical music. As viewers will readily see, the people starring in this production love and understand music, and the wit on display is equal to the gravity of the music. In turn, the result is playful and fun – a true delight to watch and hear.

For maximum enjoyment, Mozart In the Jungle is best viewed on a set with a good sound system.

by Bryan Zepp Jamieson

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson. All rights reserved.


Zepp Jamieson was born in Ottawa, Ontario, and spent his formative years living in various parts of Canada, the UK, South Africa and Australia before finally moving to the United States, where he has lived for over 40 years. Aside from writing, his interests include hiking, raising dogs and cats, and making computers jump through hoops. His wife of 25 years edits his copy, and bravely attempts to make him sound coherent. Reach him through The Electric Review.

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This entry was posted on February 11, 2014 by in 2014, February 2014, Guest Reviews, In the Spotlight, Quick Picks, Television and tagged , , .
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