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The Parlour: Grainger at Home

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by Felicity (subscribe)
A Melbournian who wonders as I wander. I have spent a lot of life colouring in moments and take great pleasure in creative expression of experience. Interested in Design, Art, Film, Photography, Painting and all things French.
Come meet Percy Grainger at home
Percy Grainger, Ella Grainger, At Home
'Grainger at Home'

Do you like pop music? This ever-evolving definition of mainstream melody once had a very unique star.

At the turn of the century, when classical piano dominated the airwaves, a boy from Melbourne's music was the 'in thing'. Grainger at Home, written by Karen Van Spall and Lucy Esdaile offers a great insight into the creative life of the acclaimed composer, lyricist and performer, Percy Grainger. Like most famous Australians, Grainger travelled off-shore for appreciation. He never came home but his impact now fills a museum.

Percy Grainger's celebrity was a mixture of talent, his mother's strict ambition and his own conviction. Grainger at Home deals with his legacy and in the process, offers a respectful memoir. This theatre piece ensures he receives the accolades he sought in life for his contribution to Australian culture.

You might find Percy Grainger hard to place, his music is a subconscious whisper that echoes in the memory of those whose grandparents are of British descent. I heard my Nan's gentle voice humming me a lullaby throughout the Grainger at Home performance. Theatre was skilfully married with an operatic presentation of his folk tunes. The space given to his music allowed it to speak volumes of insight into his identity.

The talented 'Parlour' performers bring Grainger to life through the wealth of their significant experience in the artistic realms he was at home in.

David Lemprierere- Laughton's piano serenades the senses. He has appeared in recital in New York, Paris & London. His recognition in the classical arena brings a significant validation from the high art world that Grainger often circulated due to his radio popularity.

Karen Van Spall and Adam Miller's operatic mastery offers a unique style of narration, you hear through his musical language his own autobiographical narration. The selection of work is lesser known pieces, crafted to offer a more intimate portrait than popular memory. Grainger does not hold the spotlight. It is his relationship with his wife and her unique personality that steals the show.

Karen Van Spall and Lucy Esdaile have cleverly structured the script so you are introduced to Percy Grainger through his wife's memory. Hannah Vanderheide offers a haunting rendition of Ella Grainger's colourful and enigmatic personality. Hannah has a wealth of acting experience to draw on from NIDA training to a television career. There is something about her that brings more than just skill to the role, Ella's presence can be felt through Hannah's bright eyes and deep voice. Seeing Grainger from Ella's view establishes the respect she deserves for all she put up with in life and tirelessly established for him after his death. Forged at the cost of some of her own wealth and a great deal of her privacy.

Housed in The Kew Courthouse, this performance was enriched by the historical feel of the heritage architecture. The music called you back in time and it was a delightful experience.

If you like culture, history and beautiful music, you should definitely keep this production on your watch list. The Kew Court House is a great venue for music, history and theatre. If your interest is sparked about Percy Grainger, The Grainger Museum, at Melbourne University could be worth a visit
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*Felicity was invited as a guest
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Why? To appreciate fine music and gain historic insight
When: Saturday 6 July, 8pm-9.20pm
Where: The Kew Courthouse, 188 High St Kew 3101
Cost: $32 Adult, $27 Concession
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by Felicity on 22/06/2019
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