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A Little Book Of Monsters, Usher Hall, Edinburgh


People and monsters of all ages packed the Usher Hall on Saturday for the culmination of the SCO's latest educational project.

Grieg's Suite No.1 from Peer Gynt, which evokes imagery of the Norwegian landscape and its fairy-tale inhabitants, matched the theme well. However, the commentary from Matthew Sharp between each of the movements was vague and missed the opportunity to provide any educational enlightenment.

Sharp narrated Roald Dahl's Three Little Pigs with a baritone reminiscent of Vincent Price's rap on Michael Jackson's Thriller, and conveyed the malevolence of the wolf with wild eyes and menacing postures. The audience participation during the huffing and puffing promised in the programme did not materialise, but the death throes of the wolf over one bold family in the front row drew gasps and laughs.

The title piece, written by Stephen Deazley and Matt Harvey and sung by a choir of 280 primary school children, was the highlight. The amount of work put in by the children and their tutors was abundantly clear. The choir performed six long songs, each one melodically and rhythmically complex, with tricky alliteration and challenging vocabulary. Each song was delivered from memory with great confidence, and they had worked hard on finer details such as dynamics and word endings.

For the youngsters and their proud families, A Little Book Of Monsters was a real success. However, as a family concert it fell short of reaching out to its wider audience.

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