Deep Blue dreams of a time when Martin Luther King inspired a nation and David Bowie stood as a cultural icon. It dreams of a place where you dance the Nutbush in Bollywood, to Abba and the Easybeats, in a kaleidoscope of colour. It dreams of a psychedelic soundscape where Tina Turner shares the stage with orchestral classics.
Mostly, Deep Blue and its new show The Dream imagines a unique night at the theatre you’re bound to remember after waking up.
These infectious players plug the orchestra back in. It’s a band for the iGeneration; an interactive multi-media experience something akin to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo on fistfuls of trippy drugs. In a Rage video.
As the troupe themselves tell it: “There is no conductor, no music stands and no stuffy traditions. You don't have to know when to clap and when to be quiet – you can just enjoy it.”
The opening night crowd for this clever new work certainly did. Not that you have much choice. Deep Blue demands participation, taking its music to the aisles and the ether.
Not only do they not ask you to turn your mobile phone off, they insist you leave it on to take photos and SMS song requests. Or, as some in the crowd did, wave it above your head as the new-age candle.
Now you won’t see that at any of the Australian performances of the currently-touring London Philharmonic Orchestra.
Dane Alexander, a dreadlocked conductor of sorts, skillfully plays an Apple laptop and guides his furiously bowing strings musicians via earpieces and radio frequency. When he’s not bounding around his players, that is.
Less orchestra pit, more mosh pit.
The strings selection – which, too, suggests a passivity that belies the agile ensemble – is possessed by the beat. And yet it never misses it (the beat, that is), whether dancing on stage, climbing the bleaches or, in the case of one particularly coordinated player, balancing on stilts.
These are all fine players, with or without the gimmick. Electrified (in every sense) pop arrangements from Alexander and guitarist Phil Wilson are interspersed with tricked-up classics. It is a full, rich sound that shows off some terrific young talent. Emma Hales' solo, to unfairly name one, was simply brilliant.
Deep Blue presents a vivid Dream – all lights, camera and action. It’s the most fun you’ll have sitting down with an orchestra.
La Boite Theatre Company and Creative Media Warehouse present
deepBlue's THE DREAM
Venue: Roundhouse Theatre, Musk Avenue, Kelvin Grove (home of La Boite Theatre Company)
Dates: 7 - 17 October 2009
Tickets: From $20
Bookings: 3007 8600 (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm and 1hr prior to each show) | www.laboite.com.au