BLOG Star Wars A Musical Journey

John Williams' Oscar-winning Star Wars score is performed on stage in London. Blogger Narin Bahar reports back from an evening's Musical Journey

At the weekend, blogger Narin Bahar went to see the Star Wars score performed on stage at London's O2:

Star Wars: A Musical Journey

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away George Lucas had a brilliant idea for a space opera. A story which would enchant generations of children, and inspire many imitations. He made three films which arguably changed the landscape of the blockbuster movie forever - suddenly bringing merchandising, rereleases, and spin-offs to the fore in a way that made him a very rich man.

But rather than resting on his laurels and focusing on other stuff, Mr Lucas milked that cash cow mercilessly, holding every geeky adult hostage to their childhood. By the time Simon Pegg's Tim Bisley was ranting about the travesty of the Phantom Menace the writing was on the wall - Lucas was going to continue forever, coming up with new ways to make us part with our cash, more relentless and unstoppable than the Emperor himself.

So forgive me for being a little bit suspicious at how exciting Star Wars: A Musical Journey could actually be. Ticket prices ranging from the affordable to laughably ridiculous? Check. Overpriced merchandise? Check. Should I just empty my purse into George Lucas' pocket directly at cut out the pesky bit in the middle that involved travelling to the O2 Arena on the Easter weekend missing new Doctor Who and Red Dwarf and battling with those pesky public transport engineering works?

Honestly though, this could be the event that makes up for all the small Star Wars disappointments of the last decade - from the prequels to the Clone Wars - it's simply that good.

If there was ever a sci-fi soundtrack which could be defined as iconic, it is John Williams' Oscar-winning score. From the sinister Imperial March to the uplifting cheery joy of the Ewok's party songs (what? I was young!) the very fabric of the original trilogy in particular is, for me, woven together with the threads of music. Let's face it, in a lot of ways the music is so intrinsic to the films - and adds so much to its power - it could be almost be a character in its own right.

So when you can go to a concert and hear the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra play a two-hour specially adapted arrangement of the musical highlights of all six films, it's the closest you're going to get to seeing Ford, Fisher and Hamill re-enacting the original trilogy for you. And let's face it, thirty years on and having seen Hamill's output since then, it's arguably more rewarding.

As well as the 86-piece orchestra, conductor Dirk Brossé was joined by the Royal Symphony Choir and Threepio himself, Anthony Daniels, who took on the role of narrator with all the relish and enthusiasm you'd expect, leaving the audience eating out of his hand even as he chewed the scenery. The music was accompanied by edited highlights from the films specially-edited and shown on a massive screen behind the stage. Paired with mood lighting, lasers and that music performed right in front of you, the result was so electric that it left the hair on the back of my neck standing up. Utterly amazing.

As well as the performance, tickets gave attendees the chance to see an exhibition of memorabilia from the Lucasfilm archives, including Boba Fett's costume, a Yoda model and the original Han Solo in carbonite along with other models, props, costumes and production artwork. Frankly for sheer fun, a reminder of the exuberant joy and brilliance of Star Wars and, frankly, to make up for some of those other tie-ins through the years, The Musical Journey can't be faulted. It even makes up for Jar Jar - who entertainingly isn't mentioned at all in the narration.

What's more, courtesy of the RPO I learned a very valuable lesson. It turns out that if you strip out the worst of George Lucas' cheesy dialogue, re-edit them to half an hour all in, and let John Williams' music do the talking, Star Wars Episodes 1 to 3 aren't that bad at all.

If you want to fall in love with Star Wars again, then see this if you get a chance. You really won't regret it.

Get a look behind the scenes, plus an interview with Anthony Daniels and conductor Dirk Bross&eacute, courtesy of ITN.

This is a personal article submitted by blogger Narin Bahar .

Did you go to the event? What did you think of it? The Star Wars musical has finished its run at the O2 now, but if you see if appearing elsewhere and decide to go, let us know what you make of it. And what other sci-fi scores would you like to see being given the Musical Journey treatment? Have your say in the comments below.


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