Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular

Like many Whovians, I was lucky enough to get hold of two tickets to the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Tuesday 27th May. Following my previous attendance at the outstanding Doctor Who 50th BBC Proms (Read the review here), I couldn't miss the chance to watch the music being played out live once again, this time on the road. 

The tickets originally went on sale in August 2014 for £20 per person, so it was one of them events that seemed like it was ages away, but it soon sneaked up on us.

Armed with my new Doctor Who t-shirt, sonic earrings and bracelets, we managed to catch the train straight from work and took our seats at the newly refurbished Arena for the 7:30pm start. I had been listening to the soundtrack all day at work and on the train to get me in the mood for the spectacular night ahead. As it was half term, the tour had also been treating fans to matinee performances at 3pm everyday and I've got to admit, I was slightly worried the orchestra wouldn't have enough UMPH in them to put on another 2 hour show. I was very wrong.

The show started smack bang up to date with a brilliant montage and accompanying music to Peter Capaldi's new 'who' era. We were then greeted on stage by the Fifth Doctor himself; Peter Davison, who welcomed the audience, cracked a few jokes, told a few stories and generally steered the evening along, full steam ahead. The incredible music was accompanied by the voice of the extremely talented Elin Manahan Thomas, who brought a a shed load of tears to my eyes during the night. The BBC Orchestra of Wales conducted by Ben Foster were absolutely fantastic, and are the same awesome bunch who record the actual soundtrack for the show. 

I think its fair to say the music created by Murray Gold is just out of this world.

We were greeted by lots of the infamous Doctor Who monsters of past and present who entertained the audience including the Daleks, Cybermen, Whispermen, Silurian's, The Silence... you name them, they were probably there! The night was mainly focused on the latest series of Doctor Who, including the most recent emotionally-packed Christmas special. However, there were plenty of nods to past Doctors with my favourite being the large segment dedicated the Matt Smith's series 5 finale The Pandorica suite. Apparently, Doctor Who composer Murray Gold used likes on YouTube to determine what songs to play during the concert, so the setlist really is for true Whovians.

I do believe the second half of the show following the interval was definitely a lot stronger, featuring more monsters, more interaction and the most-loved songs. 

On a bit of a downside, we were unimpressed with the seating arrangements at the Barclaycard arena. The show was by no means a sell out, as we could tell by the texts we were bombarded with in the days running up to the event from EE, treating us to half price tickets(!!!!!) and the whole of the lower tier below us was completely empty. We don't know how the organisers could really justify pushing all the ticket holders to the upper tiers, away from all the action, pretty much stuck up in the rafters. Like many of the audience, we decided during the interval to make  our way down to a more suitable set of seats in the lower tier area.

Sadly, we missed the last 25 minutes of the show as we had to catch the train home, so if anyone has any snippets they would like to share of anything I missed, please leave a comment below or contact me on Twitter to fill me in - I'd love to see what I missed.

I was hoping to buy a programme during my visit, but in my opinion, they were were a bit too pricey at a whopping £15! Looking back at the Doctor Who Proms back in 2013, I paid a cool £4.00 for a very similar souvenir book, so needless to say I left the Symphonic Spectacular disappointed and empty handed.

It was a shame these couple of bad points by the organisers over-shadowed the whole experience, to what was all in all a good night. 

The best thing about the show as it brings fans of all ages together who wouldn't necessarily listen to classical music going to an event like this and in some cases, introducing and educating them in the genre of music. 

Although the UK Tour has now finished, keep your eye on the website for the latest news and updates.

I will be uploading a video from the proms shortly, so keep your eyes peeled on my brand new Youtube Channel over the next couple of days. 

Blog to you soon!