Celebrating Disney’s Fantasia
The Vaults, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN. Until September 30th
Fantasia is one of my favourite movies of all times. The first time my father showed us a clip in Super 8 back in the early 80s, I fell in love with it. Then came the VCR tape and I ended up so taken by it that made myself a sorcerer’s cloak and ran around the house humming Paul Dukas and Mussorgski. So when I heard there was a new production coming to London celebrating this iconic masterpiece I couldn’t wait to go and see it.
The area around The Vaults has cleaned up a lot since my clubbing days so it is perfectly safe for a family trip but still edgy enough for a fun night out. The show Sounds and Sorcery is inspired by the classic 1940 Disney film Fantasia, with a series of unique installations which bring to life some of the world’s most popular and recognisable classical music, including The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, The Rite of Spring, Night on the Bald Mountain and the Nutcracker suite.
The show takes the visitor into a magical journey through a series of rooms, each of which celebrates a part of Fantasia. This is a multi-sensory experience that makes you smile from the very beginning. The installations are dazzling and very imaginative and the actors and dancers perform with flair and passion. It pays off to do your homework in advance so you know what is what and avoid confusion.
Under the musical direction of Stephen Higgins, a 96-piece orchestra has created a new recording especially for the experience. Guests are given individual headphones, so the orchestra guides you on an interactive journey through the different rooms. Each of them has a very different feeling; from a fairy land of colourful flowers to the dark depths of the Sorcerer’s lair.
Kieron Vanstone, Director of The Vaults, and Producer of Sounds and Sorcery, says: ‘When we first began exploring the world of Disney Fantasia, we knew instinctively that this was the next epic scale immersive project for us. For some time we’d been exploring the use of headphones, and specifically binaural technology, as a technique for plunging our audiences deeper into the worlds we create. Fantasia is such an inspiring, iconic movie that truly features some of the most excellent music that has ever been scored. We were incredibly inspired by what Walt Disney and his animators achieved with this music in the original movie, and our immersive take on it will aim to be as ground-breaking, just as inspirational and sprinkled with the same amount of wonderful.’
Anna Hill, Chief Marketing Officer, The Walt Disney Company UK and Ireland, says: ‘At Disney we love bringing innovative experiences to new audiences, and we are delighted that The Vaults are staging this Fantasia-inspired production this year, as the film marks a truly iconic moment in the history of Mickey Mouse ahead of his 90th anniversary. Fantasia was, and still is, a ground-breaking movie and Walt Disney’s creativity continues to inspire people all over the world today, so it is fitting that this experiential event is paying tribute to this seminal work in this way.’
Sounds and Sorcery is directed by Daisy Evans, the founder and Artistic Director of Silent Opera whose work focuses on the use of headphones to bring classical music to new audiences. Design for the production has been created by Kitty Callister in collaboration with a variety of artists who have created the installations including David Gregory Sound Designer, Doug Foster Video Designer, Jake Wiltshire Lighting Designer and Andy George Production Manager.