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Star Wars: In Concert

Jennifer Choi feels the force at the impressive mixed media gig

Published on March 17th 2010.


Star Wars: In Concert

Monday saw the original cinematic epic debut at the MEN, complete with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and 3-storey tall LED screens. Oh, and C-3PO.

Darth begrudgingly welcomed Anthony Daniels, the charming, lively soul of C-3PO whose narrative would illuminate and flesh out the story of each set piece, paired with edited footage from all six films. The crowd loved him.

As a non-fan, I was nonplussed about the show initially. My companion Adam on the other hand, being the proud owner of the Star Wars box set and well versed with its various game manifestations, was fighting with invisible lightsabers and breathing heavily with his hand over his mouth as we made our way there.

As Darth's rasping voice came on, I was surprised to see the arena only 70 per cent full- with the upper tier closed off. Where were the die hard fans? Perhaps geeky classic music is too niche for mainstream Mancunians.

I needn't have worried though. Darth begrudgingly welcomed Anthony Daniels, the charming, lively soul of C-3PO whose narrative would illuminate and flesh out the story of each set piece, paired with edited footage from all six films. The crowd loved him; his presence managed to bring both warmth and gravitas to the proceedings, especially when he broke into robotic impressions and we glimpsed a golden waistcoat beneath his dinner jacket.

In just under two hours, we were introduced to the characters young (and an older, more angsty) Anakin, Hans Solo, Princess Leia, Yoda and co. As in the films, the audience reacted more enthusiastically to montages of Darth and his dark side cohort.

The LED panels provided ascii art versions of the projections, and whilst big, they seemed at times unnecessary and distracting. The giant laser beams on the other hand were quite the spectacle, whether it was intentionally done to parallel lightsabers or otherwise. For those who find it significant, Hans shot second. Condolences.

The John Williams scores were conducted by Dirk Brossé, who, together with the RP orchestra brought the pictures alive. You do wonder though, if Bridgewater Hall would've been a better venue to showcase their talents. Still, the fact that you couldn't tell it was live unless you focused on the harmonised violin bows and trombone movements is a testament to their brilliance.

What rounded the show off nicely was being greeted an exhibit of replica costumes, and life size posters (such as one of Corusant) with which costumed children happily posed. It was a pleasant bonus in amongst the usual overpriced merchandise and beverages.

Star Wars in Concert is a great show for families who are after an evening which marries a classic series with impressive live music and amazing lasers with proud displays of fandom.

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Leigh ScottMarch 18th 2010.

I would have liked to have seen this but not that much. £35 per ticket is not on.

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