Wednesday, 17 March 2021

REVIEW: The Musician: A Horror Opera For Children at The Belfast Children’s Festival (Online)

Due to the pandemic, the Belfast Children’s festival that takes place annually has been moved online, and therefore allowing me to watch ‘The Musician: A Horror Opera For Children’ performed by the Belfast Ensemble. The story tells the back story of the life of the infamous ‘Pied Piper’ and how he became what he is known for today in the storybooks. But is he the good-hearted hero we all really know?

The setting is a full view of the orchestra with a small raised stage in the centre where the actors performed the majority of the performance. At the start of the show, I was confused at first at the mixture of spoken word narration followed by the operatic sounds repeating what the narrator had told us. With this continuously happening, I found the beginning a slow burner and not very riveting. This however did change when the musician, played by Paul Carey Jones entered the stage, picking up the pace of the production.

The character that carried the performance making it more understandable and engaging for children, allowing me to understand the story better was ‘The Traveller’ played by Matthew Cavan. I enjoyed the way that he broke the fourth wall and supporting the horror feel narrative by demonstrating an eerie demeanour. It very much reminded me of ‘Alan Cumming’ but the Irish version and appreciated his ability to keep us captivated throughout the opera.

The orchestration was a spectacle providing such an epic sound filled with an eloquent light and shade that fully embodied every instrument to the fullest. The excellent composition of Conor Mitchell and the passion we see from Tom Brady makes all the sounds we hear something magical.

An opera show was definitely a new form of art that I don’t normally watch, however being introduced with this Children’s version allowed me to fully enjoy and appreciate the skill that each performer and musician brings to the story. An entertaining piece of theatre shown in the style of the Grimm Brothers that left me thinking about the true intentions of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. 

Review by Corey Mitchell

Rating: ★★★

Seat: Online | Price of Ticket: £5 per device

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