Thursday, 13 November 2014

Music Theatre Magic Moments

As a prelude to this week's Cryptic production These Delicate Things, I am mulling over some magical musical moments. In our conversation about his show, Josh Armstrong was sceptical about my claims that 'post-visual theatre is the next vital wave of performance' and polite enough not to punch me for confusing musical theatre (jazz hand, jukebox selections, maudlin sentimentality and hands-in-the-air triumphalism) and music theatre (carrying a message through the relationship between music and... theatre, and no jazz hands). So here are a few moments from the past year that exemplify how music can carry the meaning in a theatrical context.

Al Seed moves against the jazz (Oog @ The Arches)
Although I have mentioned Guy Veale's soundscape before, the particular moment when he drops Jean Goldkette and his Orchestra (1920s jazz action) into the mix is a devastating juxtaposition of the music's sensual optimism and AL Seed's character's desperate situation. Crackling and distant, Goldkette may sing of love but within Seed's survivalist drama, it becomes a harbinger of decay and despair.

David Pollock and Sita Pieraccini get busy (Make a Hoo @ The Arches)
Sita Pieraccini mostly abandoned words for this physical drama, but Pollock's score gave the work a tight, oppress focus. By framing her movements within an oppressive mesh of urban sound.

Ballet in Real Time (Still It Remains @ Tramway)
credit: Andrew Ross

It is no great surprise that an evening with Scottish Ballet would feature music as an essential part of the proceedings, but James Cousins' choreography had an almost unfashionably intimate relationship with the Kronos Quartet's Mugam Beyati Shiraz. An all female quartet are relocated from the stage into an imaginary and desolate and arid plain through the Quartet's evocation of the Middle East - yet are saved from a mere orientalist fantasy through the stringent strings and movements. 

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