Back in 1940, Walt Disney decided that for his third animated feature film he was going to do something different. So, unlike Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio which were based on fairy tales, Disney went for the idea of putting together a movie consisting of eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music. The film was, of course, Fantasia and now, 78 years later this unique movie has been reimagined and brought to the Vaults under Waterloo Station as Sounds and Sorcery: Celebrating Disney Fantasia.
This is no recreation of the original movie, but instead is a fully immersive trip that takes the audience into the music that made the film amazing in the first place. From the start, with Bach’s wonderful ‘Toccata and Fugue’ right through to the final, and very moving ‘Ave Maria’ Sounds and Sorcery blends music, video, dancing and performance beautifully to deliver an extremely well constructed and highly enjoyable evening. Apart from the first and last, the audience are allowed to wander through the vaults at their leisure taking in the classics including including an amazing interpretation of ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ a prehistoric landscape with Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring’ and a really amusing version of Ponchielli of ‘The Dance of the Hours’. Obviously, I can’t give too many details but would recommend you see everything and, if you have the time, go around and see it again. My companion and I spent around two hours there and both had a thoroughly good time.
Director Daisy Evans and Set/Costume Designer Kitty Callister have put together a remarkable show where each vault you enter presents not only the music itself – especially re-recorded by the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of conductor Stephen Higgins – but a fantasy setting that reflects the composition. This is particularly true of ‘The Nutcracker Suite’ where the five pieces of music have individual but interconnected worlds that are a delight to the senses. My one issue was that there were occasions when moving between rooms that the headphones became slightly confused and jumped from one piece of music to another. However, that was very rare and on the whole, the music and whatever was occurring in the vault was perfectly synchronised.
Favourite parts for me? Well, it’s difficult to say as I have always really liked all of the music in the original and every piece is beautifully presented here. I loved the opening number, ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ and ‘The Rite of Spring’ which held me spellbound for the entire piece, with its vibrant set and use of colour and light to tell an amazing million year story. However, I have to say the ending – ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ and ‘Ave Maria’ – were really special and I found myself really moved as the first piece ended and the second began. Full credit to Disney for putting these two totally different – both in tone and emotion – pieces of music together ion the first place. And it is standing ovation time from me for Sounds and Sorcery for their marvelous interpretation of the story.
The original movie was a financial disaster for Disney and took a long time for people to accept and appreciate. Sounds and Sorcery, however, is a winner from the start and should be on everyone’s must-see list this summer.
Review by Terry Eastham
This year the underground world of The Vaults presents a new immersive music concert experience inspired by Disney Fantasia; Sounds and Sorcery.
Arrive at your destination underneath Waterloo station, collect your headphones at the door and step inside the tunnels. It’s time for a dance with a funky hippo, walk in a prehistoric wasteland, seek out the fairies in a magical forest and, if you dare, sneak into the Sorcerer’s Lair.
Explore the space freely as each new tunnel reveals another stunning installation. Using cutting-edge binaural sound recordings, 3D projection and light installation, the worlds of Disney Fantasia will be brought to life with musical sorcery.
This is a new, exhilarating and absorbing way of going to a concert, suitable for young and old; original fans and those who have never seen the film; let the sorcery begin!
“Not really a concert, not a vaudeville or a revue, but a grand mixture of comedy, fantasy, ballet, drama, impressionism, colour, sound and epic fury” Walt Disney, 1941
SOUNDS AND SORCERY: CELEBRATING FANTASIA
Booking Period: 3 July – 30 September 2018