A stretch in time – Doctor Who’s most atmospheric theme tune yet

Over on YouTube, user telegenicx creates atmospheric soundscapes by drastically slowing down existing music. Here, he takes Delia Derbyshire’s original 1963 arrangement of Ron Grainer’s Doctor Who theme and turns it into a haunting score, full of tremulous undertones.

Derbyshire created some beautiful pieces in a similar vein to this slowed down version of her most popular work. Telegenicx’s version puts me in mind of The Delian Mode and Blue Veils and Golden Sands, both of which ended up being reused in the 1970 story Inferno, which ended Jon Pertwee’s first season as the Doctor.

Thriller Live 1,000th performance, Lyric Theatre

Editor’s Rating

Okay, by my reckoning I’m about four blog posts behind in terms of theatre and/or drama CDs, so I’d better crack on…

Thanks to Kevin Wilson PR, I was invited to the celebratory 1,000th performance of Thriller Live at the Lyric Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. I’ve never been before, and now having seen it, it solidifies my reasons why: it’s not a theatre show, but a series of tribute acts. Not my thing at all.

And yet, I couldn’t help but enjoy myself.

Continue reading “Thriller Live 1,000th performance, Lyric Theatre”

Thriller Live 1,000th performance, Lyric Theatre3Scott Matthewman2011-07-27 12:43:05Okay, by my reckoning I’m about four blog posts behind in terms of theatre and/or drama CDs, so I’d better crack on…

Thanks to Kevin Wilson PR, I…

Operation Greenfield, Soho Theatre

Editor’s Rating

When so many people extol the virtues of a theatre company with the ferocity, frequency and enthusiasm with which people have told me about Little Bulb Theatre, there is always the worry that expectations are being set impossibly high.

With Operation Greenfield, which opened last night at the Soho Theatre after a run at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe which garnered them a Stage Award nomination for Best Ensemble, I shouldn’t have worried.

Continue reading “Operation Greenfield, Soho Theatre”

Operation Greenfield, Soho Theatre5Scott Matthewman2011-07-27 12:43:10When so many people extol the virtues of a theatre company with the ferocity, frequency and enthusiasm with which people have told me about Little Bu…

Joy to the World, Pink Martini

Oregon-based jazz group Pink Martini have over the years become one of my favourite groups. Every CD release of theirs brings fresh surprises, as the musical magpies fuse influences from Europe, the mid-East, America and the far East.

They have just released their first album of Christmas songs and, as you’d expect, it’s an eclectic mix. Along traditional songs – White Christmas, Little Drummer Boy, We Three Kings, Santa Baby – are some songs from around the globe. The Ukrainian ‘Carol of the Bells’, Shchedryk, is perhaps the best known. It is joined by a Chinese New Year song, Congratulations and Hebrew prayer song Elohai N’tzor.

Even the more well-known songs are given a twist. Silent Night being sung in both German in English is nothing new, perhaps, but it is given a verse in Arabic. We Three Kings is given an Africa-inspired makeover, and the whole album concludes with Auld Lang Syne performed to a Samba tempo and with lyrics in English, French and Arabic.

It’s a little demented in places, but also extremely beautiful in others – and a cut above the usual Christmas albums which churn out bland covers of the usual standards.

You can use the little Flash-based widget below to hear samples of each track, or on the Amazon MP3 download page. It’s also available as an audio CD and on iTunes.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Upstairs at the Gatehouse

While the West End and touring versions of Buddy have played to much larger houses, the intimacy of a fringe venue enhances the pleasure of hearing some of rock’n’roll’s most notable songs being performed with such obvious affection.

The tale of a country band struggling to be allowed to play rock’n’roll may not have much in the way of dramatic tension – pretty much the only major incident of Holly’s life came in the sudden ending of it – but it provides enough material for Janes and Bettinson’s book to provide linking material between the numbers that the audience is here for. And it is between songs that this young cast’s inexperience does, at times, show. That said, there are several strong performances, particularly from the women in the cast, with a comedic number by Deanna Farnell proving especially delightful.

But it is with the musical numbers that the entire cast has the opportunity to excel, capturing the sound and spirit of the period and with many of the actors doubling up on instruments throughout the evening. It also acts as a superb showcase for Roger Rowley, an actor who has yet to graduate, yet turns in an accomplished performance as Buddy.

_Reviewed for The Stage_

Upstairs at the Gatehouse, London, March 16-April 18
Authors: Alan Janes, Robert Bettinson
Director: John Plews
Producers: Katie Plews and Racky Plews for Ovation, by arrangement with Alan Janes for Theatre Partners and with Josef Weinberger Ltd
Cast: Emily Altneu, Andrew Ashford, Henry Barrett, Jason Blackwater, Deanna Farnell, Sean Green, Richie Hart, Roger Rowley, Patrick Rowe, Jos Slovick, Nicky Swift, Alex Wadham
Running time: 2hrs 45mins

Speaking of Scott Alan…

…as I was in my review of Sunday’s concert, I ought to point out his two CDs are available to buy.

If you haven’t heard his works before, the glories of Amazon.co.uk’s MP3 service means that you can hear preview tracks below (edit: doesn’t seem to work on Google Chrome for Mac – see below for some links):

If you want to buy full albums, you find the above widget a little confusing to navigate (I don’t blame you) or it doesn’t show up at all, try these links:

Ella sings Rodgers and Hart

At the end of my last post about Cadogan Hall’s Rodgers and Hart tribute concert, I said:

> searching Amazon or iTunes for some Rodgers and Hart numbers would make for a fruitful weekend.

Let me help you in that task. The best album of Rodgers and Hart songs is by the peerless Ella Fitzgerald:

You can use the widget above to listen to excerpts from each track and to buy the album (or individual songs) for download in MP3 format.

Alternatively, you can go to the Amazon.co.uk website for MP3 download or as a physical CD.

Torchwood: Children of Earth music

After a week of Torchwood-related content, I’m still bowled over by the quality of the finished product. While I liked the first two series, I loved Children of Earth.

One reason (among many) was Ben Foster’s incidental music – which is now available to buy. And, if I’ve got my HTML right, you should be able to see a player with some samples below. If you’re reading this in an RSS reader or in Facebook, you may need to click through to my blog to see it in its full effect.

* Torchwood: Children of Earth