A television program that has captured the hearts and minds of countless generations of viewers, from each and every sector of society, from the young to the not so young, Doctor Who has been thrilling audiences for 50 years.
The show that was originally a cult classic has now become a mainstream hit across the globe, and its accompanying score, composed by Murray Gold (the man responsible for all of the Doctor Who orchestrations since 2005) is as widely reconised for the theme to US sitcom Friends.
Gold’s arrangement of the iconic theme to Doctor Who (originally composed by Rob Grainer) in conjunction with his more recent musical masterpieces inspired the London performances Doctor Who Proms in 2008 and 2010.
In a world first and world class performance, Gold, along with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) brought the sixth series of Doctor Who and all its accompaniment to the Plenary Theatre at the Exhibition Centre in Melbourne for a brief two-show performance.
However limited, this magnificent exhibition of local musicians and international composers brought the weird and the wonderful inhabitants of Melbourne out of their homes and into a fantasy world of Daleks, Cybermen, Vampires and Aliens. An all encompassing performance the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular brought together the many elements of The Doctor, from live action daleks that wandered the auditorium to the big screen images of the most recent incarnation of the infamous Doctor, Matt Smith.
Visual images aside, the music was as spectacular as the title suggests. Led by Ben Foster, who has travelled the world and arranged the music for Doctor Who for the past six years and presented by Mark Sheppard (known for his role as Canton Everett Delaware III in the show).
Joined onstage by the stunning vocals of soprano Antoinette Halloran and counter-tenor, Tobias Cole, the performance was a dazzling array of imagery and sound. Backed by the Concordis Chamber Choir, the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular lacked for nothing.
From the sweeping beauty of Abigail’s Song to the thrilling brilliance of Pandorica Suite and The Wedding of River Song, the performance was flawless. As many audience members struggled to contain their emotions, many more rushed down the aisles to converse with the Cybermen and touch a Dalek.
This performance literally had everything, a beautiful score composed by one of the current great musical masters, a stunning array of musicians conducted by the musical arranger associated with the much-loved program and an audience that was eating out of their palms before the show even began.
There were many Fez’s on show and bow ties in abundance – Matt Smith definitely has a lot to answer for in the fashion world. It seems the Doctor who replaced the great David Tenant has finally been accepted by old fans, and snapped up many more of his own.
The show, which was once considered a nerdy science fiction program, is officially a part of pop culture and it seems the majestic tale of a madman in a box will continue for quite some time.
As a “sometimes watcher” of the show, I am officially converted thanks to the MSO’s epic performance of some of the most beautiful music created in the last ten years.
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra presents
Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular
Conductor Ben Foster
Venue: Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre, South Warf
Date: Saturday 4 February 2012