Broken violins, a flaking beach parasol, the limbs of a Victorian rocking-horse attached to a stool, the dust-staled tones of every item gives the audience an impression of venturing into a sepia photograph.
On entering the modestly sized performance space, gently greeted by a fascinating collection like that of Grandma’s attic designed by Elizabeth Willow. The stage littered with a variety of these typical 19th century items: gramophone record players, wind-up music boxes, and traditional hand marionette puppets contrasted beautifully, thanks to the mild and romantic light design, with the mangle of wires and protruding microphone stands amidst the sentimental hoard you know immediately you’re in for a uniquely bizarre ride.
The stage was gradually filled by a collection of musicians and artists dressed in top hats, dandy suits and the ladies in lace gowns and stockings. They filter in and stand strategically before a large screen guaranteeing the advantage of extra live footage. As the performance begins in a casual manner, a leading singer, Hannah Peel allures us into the melancholy world of NILA music and the enchanting illustrations of artist, Chris Rodenhurst. A collaboration of talent converges before your eyes and ears as the words of the song tell the story of the Tim Burton-esque drawings that unfurl from Rodenhurst’s pen on the big screen, filmed live from the right hand side of the stage, this performance defines the importance of the process of art – and the end result.
Stories of fantasy, romance, mystery and limitless imagination dance around your senses reminding you of the endless youth of story-telling: like that of the disturbed Cyclops, adventures of a boy through the mouth of a lion and the romantic story of what happened ‘Under the Bandstand,’ a love story reminiscent of the unparalleled minds of Gaston Laroux, Struwweplter and accompanying music with closely inspired sounds of The Tiger Lillies. Tales from Under The Bandstand is an adventure of great maudlinism that is sure to wake a little undiscovered world in each of us.
An independent review of multi-media performance I went to see a couple of years ago that blew me away!