Earlier today, I had the delight of attending the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular at the Sydney Opera House. This is not my first experience attending an event such as this, having also experienced the music of John Williams, and a Star Trek compilation at the same venue. The following is a summary of my thoughts of today’s event.
The event I can conclude to have been a real success. This was probably helped by the fact that the audience was warm and enthusiastic. Being hosted by River Song and Brian Williams themselves, Alex Kingston and Mark Williams respectively, this felt like an authentic Doctor Who Spectacular. They were fantastic, amusing hosts, that succeeded in tapping into the crowd they were in front of. To add to this authenticity, the orchestra was conducted by Ben Foster, who is the conductor responsible for getting the music into the show in the first place, and Murray Gold, the composer of Doctor Who since it came back in 2005, made an appearance also. To top it all off, Matt Smith recorded a personalised message for the Sydney crowd, which was a fantastic way to start the event.
Of course, the music was brilliant. I would not have been attending the event if I was not predisposed to enjoying the central element of entertainment. It was successfully augmented with actors dressed as some of the Doctor’s most popular “monsters”. Cybermen, Daleks, Saturnyne, Silurians, weeping angels were all present and correct. Each piece was also accompanied by a video compilation from the show. I had seen some of these compilations previously, as they had featured in one or the other of the two Doctor Who at the Proms events, but it was much better seeing them liver. In addition, however, some of the content was from the most recently aired episodes from season seven. This was a very good choice, as it tapped into the emotion of that mid-season finale, which many of us are still reeling from.
Having attended events such as this before, I can say with confidence that this one has been the most entertaining for me thus far. The John Williams event was fantastic, but it missed out on a number of pieces of music that I personally would have loved to hear. He has so much music to his name though, I always ran that risk. The Star Trek event was a blasted travesty. The host did not know his IDIC from his command insignia. Hell, he clearly did not know Klingon from Vulcan. In addition, despite the wealth of great music in Trek, they focused on just the movies, and as such did not have enough music for a whole show, filling it in with other “space-like” music. There is some fantastic music in the television series, as well as some iconic music from specific scenes in the films. All these were ignored on those occasions.
The Doctor Who show did not make any of these mistakes. The creative talent behind this show actually know the show, with Ben Foster and Murray Gold instrumentally involved. The hosts themselves star in the show, and delight in the idiosyncrasies of their characters. Best of all, they know what the fans want. Despite a focus on Who from the Smith era, they knew what music the fans clamoured to here. A special performance of This is Gallifrey/Vale Decum was featured, given that it is a combination of music that is most popular with fans. This was accompanied by a video featuring all eleven Doctors. This has been seen before at the Proms, but it is still fantastic to celebrate this select group of men that have provided entertainment for the last 50 years.
The show is still running until December 21. I am not sure if any tickets are left, but if they are, snap them out. Don’t forget if you do miss out, though, there is still the Lords of Time convention April 7th next year, featuring Doctors 5 through 8. It is a great time to be a Whovian!!