Have you ever watched a Doctor Who episode and thought, “Wouldn’t it be fantastic to hear that soundtrack performed live by an orchestra, while Cybermen and Daleks attack me?”
Well, that’s exactly what a Doctor Who concert is – and more.
The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular started off as an idea similar to the Doctor Who concerts in the UK – Doctor Who: A Celebration and the Doctor Who Proms, where music (Murray Gold’s) from the new series of Doctor Who is performed.
Besides the DWSS artistic and production team for the ANZ tour, which includes conductor Ben Foster, monster captain Jon Davey and Fifth Doctor Peter Davison, each concert sees the resident orchestra and choir of the toured city, as well as a few local actors or dancers to play the roaming monsters.
I was fortunate enough to catch two of their shows in Perth at the beautiful ‘crashed TARDIS’ Perth Arena on January 31.
And blimey, even as a veteran DWSS attendee, it felt like a regenerated DWSS, with all new kidneys. There was music from Series 8 episodes and even a piece from the recent Christmas special!
My favourite piece of the evening (there was just so many to choose from), was ‘A Good Man?’. It is a powerful piece performed exquisitely by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra, full of strings and fast bowing with incandescent vocals from soloist Antoinette Halloran.
A favourite of mine since ‘Majestic Tale’, it made my heart strings fly into the time vortex. I almost teared.
In fact, crying at a DWSS concert is considered almost normal for any attendee and one is never faulted for that.
The music is just so powerful and raw – great television orchestral music in a hall surrounded by monsters, accompanied by Doctor Who clips, is enough to make any Whovian or Doctor Who music aficionado weep or at least feel emotional.
Why Murray…why…. Such a genius, that man!
Speaking of monsters roaming the halls and on stage, it was great to see monsters from Series 8 make their appearance for the first time: The Teller, the Robots of Sherwood, the Mummy/Foretold and the Dream Crabs.
There was also an array of other old favourites like the Daleks (ah, my darling pepper pots!), the Cybermen, the Silurians, the Judoon, the Ood, the Whispermen, the Ice Warrior, the Vampire girls and even the Silence!
Sorry, where was I again? I seem to have forgotten…
At one point, I was even ‘attacked’ by a Silurian!
Yes, you read that right: During some pieces, these monsters actually roam the halls and scare the living daylights out of concert-goers. An endearing sight of shock and glee from everyone, especially the children.
Some monsters even take to ‘performing’ with the conductor and the host. It’s always great fun to see the Daleks take on the Doctor (host Peter Davison) and rebel conductor Ben Foster on stage.
In past DWSS performances, there was even use of a cricket bat as a prop. Foster has a sonic screwdriver baton (yes, this exists!), so it was his job to defend the orchestra.
Seriously, in what other orchestral performance can you find a conductor who conducts so perfectly and still finds the time to take on Daleks along the way?
He even has a Doctor Who (Fifth Doctor’s) coat!
Aesthetics-wise, even the lighting at a DWSS is wonderfully done. Imagine my delight in seeing Gallifreyan symbol gobos (stage lighting patterns) cast on the walls of the hall! *permission to squee?*
I could write endlessly about the DWSS, but I’ll leave it to you to see it for yourself. Hopefully, they’ll do a show in sunny Singapore soon.
For more on my Doctor Who concert adventures, check out my blog. I’ll be heading to the UK tour in May as well. Geronimo!
Ever attended the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular? Tell us about your experience!