Toy Story In Concert. Edinburgh (Usher Hall.) Review.

In the age of Disney +, the entire Pixar canon is available at the push of a button for nothing more than the cost of a subscription. This doesn’t account for the viewers that still have physical media collections. Some (including this writer) still treasure them in the age of continued streaming dominance. What will persuade viewers to pay theatrical event prices for a screening of something They could easily sit on their asses at home and watch with their favourite snack of choice. The opportunity to see a favourite film with live orchestral accompaniment might satisfy that requirement in terms of providing an experience beyond a standard film screening. This takes us to the Novello Orchestra. Full disclosure. Having now seen three shows including two live scores from this collective this viewer had always been meaning to cover one of their Events/ tours. One of the most incredible cinematic moments of this viewer’s life occurred when seeing them perform the live score accompanied by a screening of The Muppet Christmas Carol last festive season. It was only when a certain scene appeared in its extended form that this die-hard fan realised the version of the film cleared for use with this event was the still being 4K restored directors cut with the full “When Love Is Gone” put back in. To this fan’s knowledge, it was the first time Disney has cleared this particular Version of the film for public screening anywhere for at least ten years. Even if the extended sequence drags the pacing down somewhat it was a truly magical moment to see this edition of the film with full orchestral accompaniment for the deleted sequence.
Having seen the Novello Orchestra do such an impressive job with previous shows and their Muppets live score this attendee went into the Toy Story event with high expectations. Needless to say, they were met. The best live scores can give you both an appreciation for the film seeing it in a unique presentation As well as the musicians and Iconic score being performed before your very eyeballs. The Randy Newman Disney aesthetic has been style parodied to the point where it becomes meaningless in some quarters. That said his work with Disney is the kind of thing you want to see in a Disney sanctioned live orchestra event. Filled with iconic motifs and memorable moments this enhanced the viewing experience in a way you can’t get sitting at home eating popcorn as you watch Buzz and Woody on Disney +. The one note this watcher would typically make with live score presentations is that they aren’t the best conditions for the first viewing of a film. In sections where score and dialogue overlap the orchestra can muffle the isolated dialogue track. This doesn’t matter. These Disney Novello Orchestra concerts aren’t aimed at first-time viewers. They are aimed at a broad target audience with a clear love of these iconic characters and franchises. Some may be more than happy to sit at home And fire up the film on physical media or streaming. Events like seeing a live score perfectly played by a series of seasoned musicians who are objectively very good at what they do are creating memories that will last a lot longer than a typical film event. It’s what has enabled this author to write this piece. The original Toy Story needs no introduction.
If an attendee ever gets the chance to see A Novello Orchestra concert or live scored presentation they come with the highest Recommendation. The chance to see these great film scores perfectly played to an audience that’s mostly there for the love of the films is an extremely memorable experience. Whatever events or Disney collaborations they have in the pipeline automatically have this fan’s interest.

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