Alice Though the Looking Glass
Britten Sinfonia at Norwich Playhouse
This afternoon at Norwich Playhouse, I took the opportunity to take my nearly 6 year-old grand daughter to her first classical concert. Music doesn’t feature that much in her life, not classical anyway as it is not really her parents’ cup of tea but this show, performed by members of Britten Sinfonia, I thought might be just the ticket, and I had heard before that it was very good. Plus I know Britten Sinfonia’s work quite well through the Music in Norwich forum.
It took a bit of persuading to get her to come as she has not quite trusted me since I took her to see an especially scary (or so she thought) version of Rumpelstiltskin but once I convinced her that it wouldn’t be scary and it was interactive, she agreed. And she was chuffed that it was at Norwich Playhouse as her theatre school Crocodile will be performing their next show there.
Anyway, the set was a large black and white chequer board with a piano and chairs and various images of chess pieces so I took the opportunity to explain about chess, and Alice (she knew Alice in Wonderland) and to recite a good chunk of the Jabberwocky, which was one of my childhood favourites. The show started with Jessie, dressed in a striking red and black costume who greeted the audience and got us all involved in warm-up exercise - some with relevance to the show although we didn’t realise that to begin with.
After a story intro, the first pieces of music were played and then more story as we worked our way through the basics of Alice’s adventure though the looking glass, but by bit making use of what we learned in the warm-up.
Part way through, Jessie started conducting the five musicians (a violin, a cello, a flute, piano and occasionally a horn of some sort (French I think) and then made an offer for three children to come and try conducting - Ella wasn’t chosen but the three that were did it very well, using their hands to make the music louder or quieter.
In just under an hour, we were back in our warm beds - or at least Alice was and we were off. I was keen to know what Ella thought ‘ Okay’ she said. ‘I really liked the music, that was the best bit’. Her answer surprised me although she had clearly been enjoying it but I assumed she would have enjoyed the story most. As an aside, it was 5-9 years but I think my two-and a half year old grand-daughter would have been interested and able to engage with it.
All in all a success so will look out for the next one. I enjoyed it too!