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A rousing return for Dr Who aficionados

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  • Publication: The Age
  • Date: 2014-02-03
  • Author: Clive O'Connell
  • Page: 31
  • Language: English

DR WHO Symphonic Spectacular


Melbourne Symphony Orchestra

Plenary Hall, January 31, February 1

Back almost two years to the day after Melbourne's first exposure to this multi-faceted extravaganza, the Dr Who Symphonic Spectacular is a clear winner for the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, the third performance on Saturday night playing to a Plenary Hall packed with enthusiasts of all ages.

Back to lead the combined musical forces through the lush scores of Murray Gold and others, conductor Ben Foster brought out the hefty plain-speaking of the evening's 15 or so extracts and amalgams of musical content used to underpin the Doctor's adventures. Also back in harness, soprano Antoinette Halloran gave her best to vocal lines of rich atmospherics if little sense.

But the drawcard this time was the presence of Peter Davison, the cricket-blazered, perpetually boyish Doctor No. 5 who appeared in an MC role, with some taped addresses from his predecessor, the quirky Tom Baker, who is, for many Whovians, the ideal exponent of the Time Lord's role.

Returning to wander through the audience in menacing mode were Daleks, Cybermen, Silurians, a Judoon, an Ice Warrior and some representatives of The Silence. But the event was dressed up with an often distracting lighting battery which, with the obvious intention of elevating sensory overload, reduced much of the monsters' byplay to irrelevance.

For the most part, this Spectacular trod the same musical path as the 2012 concerts. The orchestra enjoyed themselves with scores that are congenial to hear if not particularly memorable; inevitably, the performance's focus stayed on the screened excerpts from the venerable series, with some early film of the initial Doctors, William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton, that showed the humble, sometimes ludicrous beginnings of this creation.

It helped greatly if you were an aficionado because only rarely was the orchestral/choral mix given visual prominence, as in an isolated sequence from the Rings of Akhaten episode.

Halloran sang with plenty of power, thanks to a generous amplification. Tenor Paul McMahon appeared at several points, most successfully in the Akhaten segment partnering a young and gifted soprano (sadly unidentifiable: I had no program). Davison made a friendly if slightly gauche host, delighting this audience at every turn. Still, the second half dragged, in particular a celebration of the series' 50th birthday.

GRAPHIC: PHOTO: Tuning in: A Dalek

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  • APA 6th ed.: O'Connell, Clive (2014-02-03). A rousing return for Dr Who aficionados. The Age p. 31.
  • MLA 7th ed.: O'Connell, Clive. "A rousing return for Dr Who aficionados." The Age [add city] 2014-02-03, 31. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: O'Connell, Clive. "A rousing return for Dr Who aficionados." The Age, edition, sec., 2014-02-03
  • Turabian: O'Connell, Clive. "A rousing return for Dr Who aficionados." The Age, 2014-02-03, section, 31 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=A rousing return for Dr Who aficionados | url= | work=The Age | pages=31 | date=2014-02-03 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 July 2024 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=A rousing return for Dr Who aficionados | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=22 July 2024}}</ref>