Review: TOYS AND PUPPETS – Concert Hall, QPAC

By Josie Montano & Robert McLachlan


It was a beautiful Brissie Sunday topped off with the The Toys and Puppets performance that lived up to its claim to be a ‘Musical playtime for the young at heart’. It was joyful to see that the ensemble of over eighty musicians appeared relaxed and playful as they resonated with the theme of this fun concert. This in turn allowed the full house to enjoy the exciting world renowned toy themed music echo throughout the Concert Hall at QPAC. Provided with a detailed program helped with listening guide, biographies and a glossary of terms and a ‘who sits where’ for the concerto novices such as us.


We were honoured to have the Music Director of the Queensland Symphony Orchestra, Alondra de la Parra as our Conductor for another amazing concert event within their 2019 calendar. We were taken on a musical romp throughout the history of toys, listening to Stravinsky’s The Shrove-Tide Fair from Petrushka, Delibes Excerpts from Coppélia, Debussy Excerpts from Children’s Corner, Stravinsky’s Excerpts from Pulcinella, Bottesini Double Bass Concerto No.2 in B minor, mvt 1. Our personal favourite was the Toy Symphony in C, written by Leopold Mozart (Wolfgang Amadeus’ father), which featured percussionists and other members of the orchestra at the front of the stage to the great amusement of the audience as they made convivial fun with their individual merrymaking noisemakers. This jovial interaction made up for the lack of “puppets, dolls and other surprises” promised.


QSO’s Section Principal Double Bass player, Phoebe Russell took centre stage to perform the Bottesini Double Bass Concert. Phoebe states in the program how exciting this was for her as she generally spends most of her time at the back of the orchestra.


Alondra de la Parra’s Hispanic heritage certainly shone through her passionate execution as she delivered a vibrant imaginative conductive performance. Alondra has delivered her promises of a multiple series of concerts as Music Director eg:- maestro, choral, masterworks, music on Sundays, chamber players and other special events and it was sad to hear that she is now leaving our city for her new ventures in Berlin. The Toys and Puppets concert was another of the Music on Sundays series and sadly the last for the year.


Our witty host, Guy Noble is also a Conductor, and radio host with a long term relationship with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra. Guy is also a natural entertainer and not afraid to pop a costume on as shown previously for the Kings and Queens concert when he presented himself as the Queen. This time he jiggled his way out on stage as marionette puppet Brains from Thunderbirds. Guy also provided commentaries that unpacked each piece, even providing his personal story of meeting world renowned composer Randy Newman (Toy Story).


We suggest treating yourself and booking into one, two or more of the remaining 2019 concert season performances at QPAC. If you still need a Beethoven or Tchaikovsky feast, there are still around seven concerts including symphonies, maestro performances, a master violinist, movie themes as well as Brisbane’s greatest Christmas tradition – the Messiah and one for families, Symphonic Santa.

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All opinions and thoughts expressed within reviews on Theatre Travels are those of the writer and not of the company at large.

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