Arts Desk

The Sleigher: Joshua Bell, “Christmas Confusion”

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HO HO WHO: Joshua Bell, virtuoso violinist—aka that nice boy who posed as a street musician in L’Enfant Plaza and helped Gene Weingarten prove that Washingtonians are philistines—teaming up with classical comedy duo Aleksey Igudesman and Hyung-ki Joo. As in, they play classical music and are moderately funny, not that their comedy is in any way classic.

JUMBLE BELLS: The setup begins with Igudesman presenting Bell with a Christmas song for his new holiday album. Bell's (half) Jewish, so he asks Igudesman to “Jew it up a little bit. It’ll make my mother really happy.” Cue circumcision jokes and puns about the Korean-British pianist’s family name. What they come up with is an appropriately ecumenical, if a bit frantic, Hanukkah-Christmas medley, delivered by Bell and Igudesman in hideous satin shirts and Joo in an Ortho-hat and peyos. Basically it’s an Adam Sandler skit, if Sandler had trained at Julliard.

CAN YOU HANDEL IT?: You think circumcision is painful, try watching classical musicians act. Igudesman and Joo are Showgirls-level hams. Though with his appearances on Sesame Street, The Red Violin, and this year’s Miss America pageant, some basic line-delivery skills seem to have rubbed off on Bell.

CHEER FACTOR: 6/10. Cheese factor, 10/10.

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