The Arcola Theatre seems to be where the ‘hip cats’ are, it reminds me of a ‘beatnik’ bar; very urban and very trendy. It is in fact ‘one of London’s most extensive community engagement programmes staging a diverse offering of plays, operas and musicals’. The opportunity to watch not one but two childhood favourites performed here was enough to make a 7 year old me burst with excitement!
The Basement Orchestra is an ad-hoc Orchestra for young people in London who fit in their passion for classical music amongst their full time commitments. Their interpretation of Prokofiev’s ‘Peter & The Wolf’ made my heart soar with the first play of ‘Peter’s tune’. I could forgive a few bum notes for the sheer joy of hearing such an innocent happy tune performed. Guy Jones conducted and kept control over a collective visibly very excited by their project. Once settled, the orchestra played powerfully and harmoniously looking to and enjoying every minute of Jacob Sebastian Harewood’s masterful narration. The switch between the purity of childhood, the lightness of birds, the mischief of cats and the danger of wolves; all portrayed by a change in tone of the voice and musical style. Vocal acting at its finest, complemented by the skills and enthusiasm of the players joined together to recreate this classic, timeless, musical symphony written for children and enjoyed by all ages.
To complement this musical story we are treated to a specially commissioned version of Lewis Carroll’s legendary ‘nonsense’ poem ‘Jabberwocky’ set to music by Jasmin Kent Rodgman. The surrealism of this whimsical piece that so confused Alice through the looking glass is wonderfully reproduced using the full range of orchestral instruments including a vast array of percussion; sound effects and a fantastically effective chanting from the performers underlying the recitation of the poem via Harewood through a megaphone! The whole combination is stunning and heartening. The audience eyes and smiles widen as the layers of voices, music and percussion build and build into a rapturous jubilant crescendo complete with confetti canons! A festival atmosphere is created and embraced by an adulating audience. A final piece of music is performed to calm us all down after the excitement of such a truly joyous occasion.
‘Peter and the wolf’, ‘Jabberwocky’ and confetti canons! All that’s missing is the jelly and ice cream to complete the perfect afternoon for the young and the young at heart.
Review by Rachel Borland
Basement Orchestra presents
Misch-Masch & Peter and the Wolf
by Jasmin Kent Rodgman / Sergei Prokofiev
Basement Orchestra presents an afternoon of music woven with stories. It begins with Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf – the classic Russian tale of childhood adventure. Then, the London premiere of Misch-Masch, a new work by Jasmin Kent Rodgman which sets Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky to music.
Basement Orchestra makes beautiful music in unexpected places. In the past three years they have performed in an abandoned telecoms office-block, Rough Trade Record Stores, Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club and several car parks. A mixture of high amateur and semi-professional players, the orchestra’s mission is to provide exciting new experiences, for musicians and for audiences alike.
Jasmin Kent Rodgman writes for the theatre, film and contemporary concert platforms. Her aesthetic lies in intermedia collaboration and continuously explores modes of expression, location and interaction.
Conductor Guy Jones, Narrator Jacob Sebastian Harewood, Orchestra Basement Orchestra
Sunday 16th August 2015
Monday 17th August 2015