The Flying Orchestra
QPAC Lyric Theatre
13th – 17th June 2012
Reviewed by Meredith McLean
I had no idea what to expect when seeing The Flying Orchestra as part of the Out of the Box Festival For Children at QPAC. Was it puppetry with an orchestra aside in the pit? Was it going to be some sort of multimedia performance? I found my seat and admittedly felt a little lost in the sea of small, excited children. But by the time The Flying Orchestra had finished I was genuinely sad for the show to be ending.
The orchestra makes us sing, they make us clap. They take us on journeys in the dark or holidays to the beach. No matter what your age there is no accounting for how fun it is to punch a giant beach ball bouncing along the crowd.
Everyone, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this, literally everyone has asked me, “Do they actually fly?” or my favourite, “How do you dangle a double bass on a wire?” Alas, no aerodynamics are involved. However, the stage is so intuitively set that you feel they really are highflying it around the ceilings of the Lyric Theatre.
Unfortunately in these sorts of situations you have to prepare yourself for the crying child sitting in the row behind and the poor, embarrassed mother trying to calm it down. Nonetheless the music composed by Musical Director, Chong Lim, is played so beautifully and amplified so wonderfully in the Lyric Theatre that the nondescript infant’s wails are all but drowned out.
Chong Lim is one of Australia’s most respected Music Directors. He has written compositions for famous shows we all love like Dancing with the Stars as well as prestigious endeavours like the Sydney 2000 Olympics and the 2002 Commonwealth Games. Lim’s vision was to “present our young audience (and accompanying adults!), the magic of music and its ability to paint many emotional pictures”. After seeing the production this ideal is superbly achieved. Music has always had an effect on people and when you see the show you’ll grow attached to the musicians too. You begin to feel like were all friends being brushed along the breeze with them. The kids especially will burst out in a fit of giggles as they bumble about trying to help anyone they encounter.
All of this would never have happened if not for the inspiration of Clare McFadden’s book. The story is so enchanting it’s a no brainer that the story so easily lifted from page to stage. The puppets in the show are all remodelled after her own illustrations. The love in her story isn’t a flash in the pan either. She has been involved in helping the community and inspiring art in young children. Her drive to inspire our kids to love, laugh and create is pulsing through this production.
This show made me feel like there is a Flying Orchestra out there in the sky. Very soon making their way to Brisbane. Then maybe Dane Alexander’s percussion and antics could make me laugh or Liz Young’s beautiful violin could make me feel safe. Leo McFadden’s guitar and encouragements did in fact make me sing along. I only wish the Flying Orchestra could swing by Brisbane on a winter breeze and perhaps play an upbeat, orchestral take of Eye of the Tiger so I could find some scrap of motivation to study.
Regardless of whether or not there is a Flying Orchestra out there the musicians were certainly as real as you or me. You and your children are being treated to some incredibly talented people. These are no buskers that QPAC has picked up off the corner of Edward Street. Luke Carbon on clarinet and saxophone and Wayne Jennings on cello dazzle us all the while looking like they’re having the time of their lives. It is one thing to play as beautifully as the five musicians on stage have. But it is another thing entirely to play while dancing on stage, running to and fro and even engaging the audience to sing along.
Commanding this wonderful show is director, Peter Wilson. His contributions to puppetry have spanned over the last four decades. His dedication to each detail, each movement and every child’s laugh beats through those on stage. Especially puppeteer Tak Hoyoung’s acrobatics of which will have your child gasping and clapping.
Not one person I could see in the rows of seats around me was silent. Everyone was singing or clapping, mothers were sighing at the tender moments and children were bouncing in their seats laughing at the silly moments. I would see The Flying Orchestra again in a heartbeat. There is no question that this is a must see with your family.
Final 4 shows today and tomorrow at 10am and 12:30pm. Book online.