manchester · music · Musical · performance · review · The Lowry · Theatre · war

The Sound of Music

The_Sound_of_Music nunsThe Sound of Music bounced onto the Lowry’s stage in a musical extravaganza of a show for this Christmas. Filled with the classics of Do Re Me, Edelweiss and Sound of Music the music carried the show and transported the audience back to the 1930s.

Beginning in the Abbey, the nuns were serious and melancholy before being slightly mischievous in How do you solve a problem like Maria. It added a sense of cheer to the rather silent abbey, a distant past to the life Maria had expected to find here. Instead she’s packed off to govern seven Von Trap children and alter the expectations of a strict and repressive father. Music is of course the answer, teaching and guiding the children with her knowledge and love.

It is the love story of war, circumstances and needs, passion and short lives that bring this family together. Happy in the music and surrounding of the mountains, their perfect life becomes shattered by war.

For me, the Sound of music was at times a little too cheery in its portrayal, even in the shadow of war the characters continue with their music and life without care. Even the finale of their escape is rather modest, without much suspense or determination. I would have liked to see a slight twit in the portrayal of the story, something new and raw that could have been brought to the production. Yet the audience seemed spell bound, even singing along in places, it was the tale they expected and the tale they clearly wanted to see.

The Sound of Music is at The Lowry until the 2nd January 2016.

music · performance · review · York

The Assembled- York Spring Festival of New Music

Moving completely out of my comfort zone this week, I ventured to York to view a concert of experimental and exploratory music; a performance unlike anything I have seen before.

The AssembledIt was certainly not at all as I expected, the abandoned church was the perfect space for the music and performance especially for the eerie first piece line/ shadow but with no evident stage, performance space or seating for the audience I was a little confused. However as the musicians began to mingle with the audience, chatting to friends and family enabled us to feel relaxed, to await the unexpected. Then it begun, very quietly without any announcement; a sole violin amongst the dusty church.

An aspect that has now been completely removed from concerts today is the interaction between the audience and the performer, the ability to see and explore what is surrounding you. Yet here, we were encouraged to move, expected to alter ourselves as indeed the concert altered in front of our very eyes. It was a sense of freedom and collaboration between each performer to one another, but in turn to the audience too.

The pieces ran into one another, permitting the concert to flow and alter around the audience. Then we came to the silence, the performance carried on but all notes were abandoned, we saw the very essence of the music with each note reached for, but left behind. It made me question what music is to us, certainly not just a sound; a performance. Then when aspects of this are removed, the status of music becomes unknown, is it music? Or now simply an act?

With clear innovation, this experimental music presented an interactional way of performing previously unknown to me. It permitted the ideas we hold of music to be questioned and altered. Giving new perceptions to what we view music to be.

Assembled                          Assembled

The Assembled performed on Sunday 3rd May at The Stained Glass Centre, York.