Not enough monsters!

<GEEK ALERT! NON-DR WHO FANS NEED NOT READ THIS POST. Apologies for the poor quality of the photos, but my camera was not up to the conditions. You’ll get some idea, though, of what it was like.>

Those three words in the heading are my mini-review of the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular, this afternoon at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor, welcomes the audience. Seems he might be visiting Oz again soon

But that was the worst thing about it. It was great fun to see many of the monsters that the good Doctor has fought, even if they were too often in the dark (the lighting seemed a bit haphazard when showing the roving creatures) and too far way, on the other side of the theatre.

Silurian warrior women threaten the audience while Ben Foster conducts

Cybermen, a Judoon (centre)  and a vampire fish woman from Venice (with parasol) roam the sold-out theatre

Actor Mark Sheppard (who played Canton Delaware III in Dr Who and Badger in Firefly) hosted. I’m used to hearing him with an American accent, but he’s a Brit who has made a solid career as a sci-fi actor in the US.

Venice vampire fish woman bares her fangs

I loved hearing the music live (composer Murray Gold and conductor Ben Foster came all the way from the UK), played by the Melbourne Symphonic Orchestra and featuring the music mainly from new series 6 (Matt Smith as the 11th Doctor, with a bit of 10th Doctor David Tennant thrown in). There was a bit of a hiccup when Ben seemed to miss the cue to play, so they had to stop the video (on a couple of large video screens showing edited scenes from the show).  He apologised and we waited in silence for the music to re-start. Suddenly there was the sound of a sonic screwdriver – from the audience! Then at least 50 sonic screwdrivers glowed in the dark and whirred. Aficionados will know that the Doctor whips out his sonic screw driver to fix almost anything (it’s sometimes a too-convenient get-out-of-trouble tool). They must have worked, as we were soon back in business.

Australian soprano Antoinette Halloran, in fine voice, sang the song that calmed the flying shark (yes, really) from the 2010 Christmas special, “A Christmas Carol”

Like many Australians, I’ve been watching the show since 1964 (but I missed Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy in the role while travelling overseas) so appreciate the “classic” series as well as the new which started in 2005.

Dalek threatens to you-know-what the audience; orchestra is behind

Teletubby Daleks (so-called by some fans who aren’t impressed by the new, colourful designs of the Daleks) force conductor Ben Foster back to the podium

Remember him? Of course not!

A Silent; photo by Andrew Roberts

A cyberman makes a dramatic entrance

Cybermen considering whom to delete

Two Ood listening to their “Song of Freedom”

You can see another attendee’s photos here. UPDATE: Of course there’s now a zillion videos on YouTube, too.

There were a lot of families with young kids, and many unfamilied “fans”. I thought more fans would dress up more fully, even though there were many bowties and red fezzes among both men and women, and many TARDIS or Doctor Who T-shirts (I didn’t wear my Cardiff Weevil Retrieval Team T-shirt, so I shouldn’t complain). This fellow, from Newcastle, north of Sydney (some attendees came from as far away as Singapore), went to a lot of trouble …

Erm … Doctor Who? The 10th

Towards the end, the video screens showed brief regeneration scenes of all of the Doctors and the audience clapped for their favourites. The David Tennant fangirls (and -boys) screamed the loudest, followed by the Matt Smith-ers.

It was huge amounts of fun to attend, and I hope they do it again sometime. Both concerts sold out, so the organisers will know they have supporters. Who-hoo!

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14 Responses to Not enough monsters!

  1. Rebecca says:

    Cool! How fun to unexpectedly find Doctor Who on one of my favorite nature blogs! I’m far more familiar with the new Doctor Who than the classic one, though I’ve watched a few Fourth and Fifth Doctor stories. Can’t wait for new episodes to start again in the fall.

    • Joy Window says:

      It was fabulous! I’d seen a DVD of Doctor Who at the BBC Proms, and when this came up I booked straight away. Good thing I did as both shows were sold out. Several people I’ve mentioned it to here in Melbourne (including the hotel clerk) said they wished they had booked earlier as they wanted to go.

  2. janebeauane says:

    Goshgolly – I didn’t know THAT was what you were going to Melbourne for! Looks absolutely amazing. Bright green with envy! Thanks for sharing.

  3. peonyden says:

    A great event , obviously, and a fun report.
    Thanks.
    Denis

  4. Hmmm. Yeah, I’ve heard of Dr Who, but didn’t realize it was so popular that it would inspire such as event. Is the show particularly beloved in Australia/UK–or am I just out of the (USA) Who-loop?

    • Joy Window says:

      It is massively popular in the UK and Australia, and has been building a loyal audience in the US and Canada since its reintroduction in 2005. The show started production in 1963, stopped in 1989; there was a movie in 1996. It was a “cult sci-fi” show until it was rebooted and brought up to date in 2005 and has pretty much become mainstream in the UK – one of the BBC’s most-watched shows.
      The idea of the main character (the Doctor) not dying but being of an alien (albeit human-looking) race that has the power to regenerate a new body when the old one dies has helped the longevity of the series – you just call in a new actor when the old one wants to move on. Some call it science fiction, some science fantasy, some fairy tale. It’s had its ups and downs with quality and quantity, but the new series (from 2005) has had a big budget which helps with production values.
      There are many events in the UK celebrating Dr Who – fan conventions, BBC live shows – and the concert series BBC at the Proms did a secial Dr Who concert in 2010. This one in Melbourne is cut from the same cloth.

  5. Cath Clrak says:

    wOOOO-hOOOOOO! Thanks so much for sharing, I’m surprised you didn’t run off with that pinstripe timelord. I LOVE the part of the audience pulling out their sonic screwdrivers to fix the orchestra! Soooo cool that Matt Smith himself came, & Caton too. Hooray for you & A!

  6. Carol says:

    This looks amazing, I didn’t even know it was on. Thanks for putting all this up & good to meet you at Ciao the other night.

  7. CallumThe Doctor says:

    I hope everybody that went had a good time! I really wanted to go (I’m in Canberra) but there wasn’t much in The way of cheap accommodation :(. So I hope the rumours are true and they film here in Australia in 2012!

    • Joy Window says:

      If the noise level (mostly screaming) at the end was anything to go by, they all had a GREAT time! We stayed at the Pensione in Spencer St, about 10 minutes’ walk from the venue – relatively cheap even if the rooms are tiny. There’s a YHA in Flinders Street around the corner that would be even cheaper.

  8. Joy Window says:

    A staff member at the hotel said one of the producers of the animated series was staying at the hotel, and he had said the event was such a success that they are definitely coming back to Australia.

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