Reviewer: Jay Nuttall
The 2012 BBC Proms included Wallace and Gromit’s Musical Marvels. It proved so popular that it was resurrected as a theatre tour. For anyone that has dreamed of a grand day out this is a toe-tapping trip into Bristol-based Aardman Animation’s back catalogue of Wallace and his faithful dog, Gromit.
Presented by musician and singer Matthew Sharp this ninety-minute show is a trip down memory lane, a homage to one of the country’s most loved plasticine duos, and an introduction into the delights of orchestral music to young ears. Musical Maestro Matthew Sharp is backed by The Picturehouse Orchestra – a mixture of professional musicians from the UK’s leading orchestras who are happy to don an array of outfits, including Wallace tank tops, Gromit ears or many other Aardman’s creations including Wendolene, Shaun the Sheep or even a great big slice of Wensleydale cheese! This gives you a feel of the event – a lot of fun and an easy introduction into the world orchestral music through the familiarity of our hapless inventors.
Our presenter Matthew bursts onto the stage, apparently running late for the concert and has conversations with Wallace and Gromit ‘backstage’ via big screen who are busy preparing and composing the highlight of the concert entitled Concerto in Ee Lad. As we wait for them to put their finishing touches to their musical masterpiece Matt must ‘fill’ – a perfect way to allow young ears to hear the delights of what an orchestra can evoke. We are treated to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and a couple of delicious montages of Wallace and Gromit sequences scored by The Picturehouse Orchestra and their conductor, Steve. When disaster strikes ‘backstage’ Gromit is forced to compose a new concerto ‘ad hoc’ concerto entitled Cello with Dog– a new composition and the highlight of the first half.
The second half is a trip into the world of nostalgia (or not so much for little ones) as the orchestra live score the 1993 classic The Wrong Trousers. It becomes the highlight of the concert as a theatre of children and parents share an appreciation, no matter how many times they have seen the film before, of twenty-five minutes of pure joy savouring Julian Nott’s delightful score.
The script could have been a little cleverer and there could have been a better introduction to the orchestra, a breakdown of the choices of the composer and a dissection into sounds being produced. That said, Carrot Productions have produced a show that combines an introduction into the delights of live music, a bit of fun and an awful lot of people humming the Wallace and Gromit theme tune on the way out of the theatre.
Reviewed 26 May 2019 | Image: Contributed