Review by Annie Zeleznikow
Entering the large space in town hall, I was immediately immersed by an atmospheric blue haze with the large wooden pipes of a historic organ looming over the crowd. The organ had a platform that resembled a stern of a ship, and felt purpose built for the events about to unfold onstage. The excellent and consistent use of fog machines created the illusion of water
This production is not a recreation of the film, and leans more towards historically accurate accounts. This change added a compelling twist to the well-known tragedy of The Titanic.
The show begins with the large orchestra swelling with emotion, as the audience is transported through time and space to an energetic maiden voyage of a titan of industry. Although there were some issues initially with the vocal mixing, I was quickly impressed by the harmonies and vocals of the show. In particular the male ensemble that harmonized in a way that made my heart flutter and sing along with the blending voices.
The use of colour and moving lights in the show changed with the scenes and added movement. The dynamic light was used to mimic sunlight through water, bring the audience along for a ride of a lifetime. Although sometimes the spot light took a little bit of time to find the actors.
The concert’s staging was lovely, with the actors in distinct locations when they were playing specific characters. There was some choreography, which blended well with the concert style of the show, it provided a mix of character development and storytelling as the actors swirled around each other, expressing their joy of the journey.
The vocals overall were excellent, they were gentle and tender, working in collaboration with the gentle soulful sounds from the orchestra.
Some of the music was bubbly and sparkling, full of hope that is mirrored in the optimism the characters experience at the top of the show. The stage was charged with enthusiastic energy as we set sail.
The soft increase of the orchestra foreshadows the ships tragic conclusion. As the story inevitably grew closer to the collision, the tempo of the orchestra masterfully increased. I felt my heart rate rise in anticipation as the music reached a crescendo.
Act 2 begins with a silly and charming song, that is vibrantly delivered by the cast, this is partnered with enticing staging.
The show continues with a soft air of despair as the sinking boat slowly turns the orchestra’s music to minors chords (the saddest sound). As the characters grapple with their powerlessness the music becomes angry, bringing to the surface the undercurrent of emotions the ensemble was feeling.
I am a sucker for a good harmony and this cast was able to deliver.
Melbourne Town Hall
Address: 90-130 Swanston Street, Melbourne
4 shows only: Friday 4th November 8pm, Saturday 5th November 2pm & 8pm and Sunday 6th November 3pm
Tickets and information from www.titanicmusicalinconcert.com.au
Photo credit: Paul Mulligan