Wallace & Gromit: In Concert
Filmed at The Lowry in Salford in June, this show brings together two of the most well-loved characters in British animation and a concert orchestra for an interesting hybrid family show.
To the overture to Mozart's Marriage of Figaro (after I'd worked out how to turn the audio description off—which seems to be on by default even if you book the non-described version), presenter Matthew Sharp is shown waking up in his dressing room and rushing through the corridors to the stage to introduce the musicians, all dressed as Aardman characters or just with a giant cheese on their head, and the famous Wallace and Gromit theme by Julian Nott.
The music is interspersed with visits backstage on the screen behind the orchestra, where Wallace is trying to organise things for the concert, while Gromit is sorting out the mess he is making of everything, including the destruction of a piano and an expensive violin.
Sharp introduces conductor 'Steve' (Steven Magee) while he takes to the cello for an arrangement of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Daniel Whibley. This is followed by some video montages of W&G clips with live accompaniment: chase sequences using Whibley's music, then Wallace's romantic moments to Debussy's "Clair de Lune". An unexpected blackout is accompanied by Bach's "Toccata and Fugue", going into Handel's "Queen of Sheba" and some Vivaldi, before more clips from W&G and their offshoot Shaun the Sheep with Whibley's music.
The long final section is a complete showing of The Wrong Trousers with live orchestral backing (Nott's music), which was probably a great experience live, but in a recording it isn't much different from watching the DVD, except for the occasional cut to the orchestra. However I certainly won't complain about having an excuse to watch any Wallace and Gromit film again.
With its mixture of classical, pop and familiar music from the animated films, it could be said it is a good introduction to orchestral music for youngsters, but you could also say it is 78 minutes of entertaining fun for children or adults.
Reviewer: David Chadderton