‘My Sonata in Ee Lad’

When Wallace prepares to perform his brand new musical masterpiece, with help from his canine sidekick, Gromit, what can possibly go wrong?

This weekend sees the final performances in Carrot Productions country-wide tour of Musical Marvels, featuring the animated duo, Wallace & Gromit.

It’s an interactive experience, designed to introduce children of all ages to live classical music, and to pair it with a cinema-like screening.  The first half fetaures specially created animations – as Wallace and Gromit get ready for the debut of their Sonata in Ee Lad – and the second, a viewing of The Wrong Trousers. Both are accompanied by The Picture House Orchestra, and it’s all pulled together by the escapades of preseter, Matthew Sharp.

The performance was lively, fun, and the mixed media ensured that it would appeal to families with children of all ages (not to mention adults who have a soft spot for Wallace & Gromit, and like a bit of slapstick).

Carefully paced so that there wasn’t time for anyone to get restless – and if they did, well, it was all taken in good heart – the orchestra joined admirably into the fun, and also offered a selection of non Wallace & Gromit pieces. The eight year old (who isn’t a fan of audience participation and looked on in horror when people were encouraged to clap along!) was won back by the arrangement of Bohemian Rhapsody, one of his all-time favourites.

Running alongside the performance was a series of model-making workshops, in conjunction with Aardman Studios, creators of Wallace & Gromit. A few of the 80-odd participants had been to the show, most hadn’t, but the workshop we attended was most definitely a highlight. The eight year old loved modelling Gromit, and even I, the least ‘crafty’ person ever – guided by the experts – managed a passable, if stern-looking canine.

All in all, it was great afternoon out, and judging by the enthusiasm around us, that was the general consensus. And the Usher Hall staff deserve a mention for their unwavering friendliness and efficiency.

The only quibble I have – a recurring issue – is that the price would rule out a lot of people; it was not a cheap day’s entertainment. This may have been the reason for the auditorium being only half full, and the fact that there were reduced prices available for later on, the evening perfomance probably had a lot of spaces too. That said, for a special treat, you couldn’t go far wrong.

And if you missed the tour, you can catch the production during the Edinburgh Festival, this time at The Pleasance.

For more information go to www.carrotproductions.com and www.usherhall.co.uk


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