Also see John's review of Completely Hollywood (abridged)
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts presents the U.S. premiere of Pandemonium: The Lost and Found Orchestra created by Steve McNicholas and Luke Cresswell. After the global success of their unique take on rhythm with the show Stomp, McNicholas and Cresswell have reunited to take their original concept to a new level. Pandemonium: The Lost and Found Orchestra transforms everyday objects into orchestral instruments, representing every section of a symphony orchestra by replacing strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion with musical saws, soda bottles, rubber tubing, kettles and garbage cans.
A talented group of some twenty-five instrumentalists and thirty singers create an impressive display of creative musicianship that is anything but pandemonium. The staging is mostly just about the playing of the instruments, but they are so unusual that getting to and from them or changing audience focus is entertaining all on its own. Though played on unconventional instruments such as squonkaphones (a plumbing tube saxophone made with balloons, gate latches and cable toes), plumpets (plumbers pipe attached to traffic cones on a hospital IV stand), giant cuicas (220-liter plastic barrels and polypropylene rods on shopping trolleys), and stringed woks (just what it sounds like), the musical form is traditional in nature. The musical pieces include the introduction of a main musical theme, followed by variation, a second theme and counterpoint. The staging emphasizes the dynamics, with more musicians creeping on to assist with crescendos or marching off for decrescendos. The visual impact is aided by some physical characterization given by the musicians as they play. Though it may seem subtle, surely much thought went into this aspect of staging.
Pandemonium: The Lost and Found Orchestra is incredibly engaging. There is always something new to watch, something amazing to listen to, and always a new instrument that seems like something from Dr. Seuss. The only possibly neglected area is lighting.
McNicholas and Cresswell have conceived a show that is far more interesting than Stomp. Whether you are a child exploring music for the first time, or a seasoned professional musician, Pandemonium: The Lost and Found Orchestra proves music can be found everywhere.
Pandemonium: The Lost and Found Orchestra played through September 26, 2010, in the Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is made possible by the public support of t he Miami-Dade County Major and the Board of County Commissioners, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, and the Miami-Dade County Tourist Development Council. It also receives generous support from private and corporate contributions to the Performing Arts Center Foundation of Greater Miami through it's Membership Program, the City of Miami Omni Community Redevelopment Agency, the Dade Community Foundation, The MAP-Fund, the Sate of Florida, the Department of State, the Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County is located at 1300 N. Biscayne Blvd., Miami, Florida, and houses the 2,400 seat Sanford and Dolores Ziff Ballet Opera House, as well as the 2,200 seat John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall, and the 300 seat Carnival Studio Theater. For information, or to purchase tickets for the many diverse offering of the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, you may contact them at 305-949-6722, or visit them online at www.arschtcenter.org.