Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Spectacles!

No, not the type that you wear, but the type that make you go ooooh!

I've had the immense good fortune to have gone to some amazing shows over the last few weeks.

My lovely friend Sarah bought me my ticket to go and see Lion King, after I'd mentioned earlier this year that I'd never been. Even more than that, she was brilliant and organised it for a group of us to go, including for two of our friends from Glasgow who I've not seen in far too long.

What can I say about the Lion King that won't be filled with superlatives? The music was brilliant - it included two of the side boxes (one on each side of the stage) being filled with percussion instruments (and a man on each side to play them). The story line was pretty much the Disney story, no major changes needed. The design... Oh my.... The design was *mindblowing*. The costumes/characters were a mixture of masks, material, body paint and puppets; animals and representations of concepts mixed together. The stage design was gorgeous; with very simple sets (aside from the Elephants' Graveyard, which must have taken a whole chunk of the budget), and mainly using lights and colour to reflect the African landscape. And *nothing* is going to compare to having an elephant walk past my shoulder in the opening sequence.
I could post pictures, but Disney have got clips...


Then John and I went to see War of the Worlds in concert. I am a big fan of the original, and did have a little squeee moment when I realised that Jeff Wayne himself was conducting the orchestra (for some reason, I hadn't twigged that he'd be there). The stage set up was brilliant - the strings section on one side, the rock and percussion section on the other, Jeff in the middle conducting, and looming over the lot, a giant animatronic Tripod, with a heat ray that fired (ok, only dry ice, and then red, orange and yellow lights into the audience, but it still fired!) An animated Richard Burton on the far left of the stage, a projected backdrop of CGI actors, and live actors at the front of the stage for the singing parts completed the set up. It was even better than I'd hoped it would be (even if I was rooting for the Martians during the Spirit of Man - really not sure how they could have someone professional missing the notes *that* badly!) This link gives a 3 minute video of the 2006 tour, which seems to have had a reasonably similar cast to the one that we saw.

In addition, spectacular in a different way, we took a trip to Weston Super Mare to see the Sand Sculptures. These are (as it says on the tin) sculptures carved out of the sand. But not your normal sandcastles on the beach - these were full statues, 3D sculptures that you could walk past and (in some cases) round, with detail that was astonishing.


The festival is on until the beginning of Sept, and it only costs £3 - well worth a visit if you are in the area!

3 comments:

R J Adams said...

Aha! A fellow "War of the Worlds" fan. I still have my original copy, though my wife calls it a 'load of noise'. No taste, except in men, of course.

I'm fascinated by the idea of an animated Richard Burton. Presumably, they didn't dig him up for the performance?

Sand sculptures also amaze me. I don't have the patience, nor the talent. The second image had me confused at first. My immediate impression was of a rather deflated breast, then a strawberry whip with a cherry on top. Finally, I recognized the shape of the whale. I really must get these glasses (sorry, "spectacles") changed.

Strabec said...

They make ordinary sand castles look pathetic don't they?

Blogger from Beyond said...

Wow, those sand sculptures are utterly amazing!