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VUE Magazine - August 2014

FOUR STARS - Comedy double acts are sometimes a dime-a-dozen at the Fringe, but comedy double acts with a background in opera? That’s a little more rare. As Il Duo (Il Divo rejects desperate to win back Simon Cowell’s approval), Ron Long and Clint Hagel have returned to the festival with a hilarious and good-natured musical comedy. Ron is the straight man, Clint the over-enthusiastic younger partner with an over-affection for Elvis. They mix Broadway, light operetta and pop songs and parodies with infectious humour, all backed by a beautiful piano. It’s an extremely enjoyable hour appropriate for all ages. —Robin Collum

Vue Magazine - August 2013

FOUR STARS - Somebody needs to give these two their own talk show! While the whole idea of a Christmas Special in August is absurd, Il Duo manages to pull it off. They decorate a tree, sing the hilariously wrong words to Christmas carols, exchange presents and even manage to fight like a real family. Audience members are pulled on stage throughout, and—with one laugh after another—the pair behind Il Duo keeps the whole show as light as snow. —Bryan Saunders

 

Edmonton Metro - August 2012

REVIEW: Il DUO

Take two Saskatchewan boys, both classically trained tenors—add some comic charm and wit – and the piano stylings of Gail Olmstead – and you’ve got Il Duo, a smart and sassy variety show playing to outdoor audiences on the Fringe grounds.  If you remember the Smothers Brothers, it’s like that – one the straight man and fall guy, one the goofy, funny fella.  Charming the audience with interactive, silly banter and a hilarious spoof of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, the talented twosome surprise and satisfy with a tender version of Danny Boy.  The 40-minute show seemed to scratch the surface of what the energetic singers can do.  It left me wanting more.

- Lucy Haines

CBC Manitoba - July 2012

FOUR STARS - You could be forgiven for mistaking Il Duo for the Il Divo phenomenon. It's part of their gag. Il Duo are funny man Ron Long and straight(er) man Clint Hagel, two tenors from Edmonton, accompanied on this occasion by Sally Hunt.

Their musical show takes us on their "World Tour," with songs from different countries, including pop songs, musicals, classical hits and loads and loads of laughs.

It's a winning combination. These guys are seriously talented singers with a fantastic comedic touch. They take real joy in fooling around with the music and playing around on stage. And of course being musicians, their timing is perfect.

Their show has an interesting sub-plot. By juxtaposing different songs, they reveal how some of those supposed pop geniuses stole classical music masterpieces and rewrote the lyrics. Including -- at least twice - songs made famous by Elvis Presley. ("I Can't Help Falling in Love with You" is a rip-off of "Plaisir d'amour" by Martini.)

At the end, just when we settled in for a nice sentimental rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," they go and spoof that one, too. And to great effect.

The crowd loved it, except one fellow who was offended by the "I thought blind singers sold more CDs" joke.

If you love musicals (and can handle a few bars of the theme from The Love Boat), a bit of classical music, comedy - oh, and audience participation - then put on your dancing shoes and be prepared to split a gut.

These guys are seriously talented singers with a fantastic comedic touch.

—Andrea Ratuski

Winnipeg Free Press - July 2012

FOUR STARS - They have the voices of angels and their venue is a church, but Edmonton singers Ron Long and Clint Hagel are mighty irreverent throughout this 60-minute musical comedy.

Feigning blindness, Hagel enters with the aid of a cane before the opening song, blind tenor Andrea Bocelli’s hit The Prayer. And he gives a decidedly non-PC salute when their musical world tour touches down in Berlin.

But with straightman Long providing a chastening counterbalance, all sins are forgiven.

And the pair are note-perfect on the musical front. A classical medley during a puppet spoof of the Twilight movies is a hit — as are a few audience participation numbers — and the finale is truly glorious.

— Pat St. Germain

Winnipeg Free Press - July 2011

FOUR STARS - It may be difficult to believe, but there is a chance during this 60-minute musical comedy you will laugh till you cry at a grown man singing like a cat in heat. I mean really, you might wonder, what’s so funny about this?  But the two tenors of Il Duo, Ron Long and Clint Hagel (they got kicked out of the supergroup Il Divo, they explain, and are trying to get back), are so appealing they can get audience members to do almost anything. Even wear a coolie hat and mime a Mikado number, or sing along to Kenny Rogers. Really.  The official fringe program prepares audiences to expect the Smothers Brothers, but when these Edmonton boys drop the shtick and just sing, they are truly sublime.  The world needs more tenors like these. Just don’t sit too close; they’re irresistible.

— Margo Goodhand editor of the Winnipeg Free Press

Edmonton Sun - August 2011

FOUR OUT OF FIVE SUNS - Il Duo is Italian for ... the duo. Sure, it’s not the most exciting foreign name to give your group, but it’s very accurate.

Ron Long and Clint Hagel make up the aforementioned duo, a pair of zany singers who are just out for a few laughs. The third point in their duet comes through the musical stylings of Gail Olmstead. So maybe duo wasn’t the best name to choose, but there are more confusing names at this year’s fringe. (Rocket Sugar Factory had nothing to do with space flight, high-fructose corn syrup, or shop work)

That’s not to say you won’t enjoy yourself. The pair work wonders together, a chemistry that has been building for the past year.

Their stage show is a physical comedy crossed with amazing voices. They’re the modern Gilbert and Sullivan crossed with a funnier version of Wayne and Shuster. A 10-minute rendition of "The Mikado" followed an impromptu marriage proposal and a re-enactment of the flying-carpet scene from "Aladin".

In each of those sets, audience participation factored in. It’s a running theme throughout the hour-long performance, with various audience members used to re-enact "The Mikado" and even pulled on stage for a dance. If you’re nervous in front of large groups of people, you may want to practice avoiding eye contact. Just don't LOOK like you’re trying to avoid eye contact.

It’s unfortunate the duo had to perform out of the Trinity Lutheran Church. While a lovely venue, it makes it difficult to see the action from the back few rows, and the backdrop wasn’t ideal for the comedy routine.

But if you’re looking for something with a little pizzazz, a little fun, and a lot of laughs, make sure to check out Il Duo.

Four out of Five suns

Justin Bell of the Edmonton Sun