35mm: A Musical Exhibition, The Other Palace Studio | Review

Thursday, 21 September 2017

35mm: A Musical Exhibition
The Other Palace Studio
Reviewed on Wednesday September 20th 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

Honestly, when I stepped foot into The Other Palace Studio I had no idea what I was going to see except that it involved photos and singing. I was correct but it was actually so much more than that. 35mm is, as the title says, a musical exhibition and whilst this probably conjures up the idea of wandering around listening to music its actually a show like any other with an audience and a stage. The difference though is that each song is based on a photograph and instead of following one story, we follows lots of individual ones in each song.

I assumed that each photo and song would follow on from one another but they are actually not linked, instead they each tell a personal tale or capture a fragment of time told through music. However, as the show progresses there are some connections as well as juxtapositions, with each song blending into one another to create the idea that we are all the same in our overall experiences. Whilst the photos may look different to our own and even abstract in some cases, the stories behind them are often very similar to each of us and the magic of music and photography is that they can capture that and hold it as a memory. These memories allow us to reminisce but also grow.

The music itself, written by Ryan Scott Oliver is an amalgamation of styles which are performed wonderfully by the outstanding cast made up of Maisey Bawden, Gregor Duncan, George Maguire, Christina Modestou and Samuel Thomas.  Each member gets a chance to shine and take centre stage with their own story and the varying emotions from joy to anger to hatred are shown wonderfully by the small but extremely powerful cast.

I particularly enjoyed 'Leave Luanne' and 'The Ballad of Sara Berry' both of which were dramatic and emotive and worked wonderfully with the quick, sharp movements of the cast. 'Stop Time' opened the show in an interesting way, with sounds of swaying and movement as if we were travelling. To me it came across as a very unique form of music with the use of unusual sounds creating an impressionistic vibe which worked well in the intimate space. The religious choral section were also stunning with flawless harmonies which resonated wonderfully in the space.

Musically the songs are complex and layered which is a great contrast to the fairly simplistic looking photos. Most of the photos by Matthew Murphy are pretty basic looking with minimal action so it's wonderful to delve into them and bring out meaning with the music.  Joe Bunker leads the six-piece band very well and pulls off each genre perfectly.

The movement is also brilliant, with sharp, quick steps which flow and pop exquisitely with the music. The studio is small but seems bigger because of how easily the cast move with one another, never seeming like they're running out of room but instead working the space and using it to add to the story.

At seventy minutes through, a unique show, a great cast and variety of musical genres you can't really go wrong and I would definitely recommend going along to The Other Palace Studio to see it.

35mm: A Musical Exhibition runs at The Other Palace Studio until September 30th.

photo credit: Brittain Photography