let’s hear it for showmanship!

There’s much to be said for the  same day, standing-room cheap ticket. You line up 30 min beforehand and barely have time to Google the show. Expectations are low or nonexistent, so you’re that much more likely to be totally bowled over.

At the BBC Proms a couple of weeks ago, 10:30pm at Royal Albert Hall, I stood spellbound as the Spaghetti Western Orchestra interpreted the music of Italian movie-composer Enrico Morricone.*

[*whose name I keep confusing with “Moriarty” thanks to the awesome new BBC Sherlock I’ve been watching.]

This is music designed for storytelling, written to advance narrative and augment mood. And boy, do these talented musicians know how to tell a story!

Clowning fun is combined with airtight choreography and staging. A saloon comes instantly to life with nothing but microphone mumblings and the clinking of bottles.  A brushfire ignites when the microphone is pressed into a box of Cornflakes.  One piece ends in a melodic chorus of gunfighters’ death-rattles .  Thus the SWO is nostalgic–even melancholy at moments–but never sentimental.

The show (and the films that inspire it) is a great reminder that the West was always a myth–a product of imaginative fantasy and fun.

Look it up on BBC4 (it airs tonight)!

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