What do you get when you mix one of Britain’s best-loved author/ illustrators with a live orchestra? A sell-out show and one mesmerised room of kids, says Anthony Pius.
Anthony Browne, the creator of children’s literature’s most famous chimp, Willy, joined forces with his wife Jane, the violinist and composer of Adriamus Ensemble, to bring his books to life in Barnes.
The performance was full of movement, energy and expression. Using voices, pictures, and a string quartet and saxophone, the children were taken on a journey to explore their imaginations, from being taught dance moves to saving Willy the Wimp from a gorilla gang.
“I actually wrote the music for Willy the Wimp 20 years ago for a children’s orchestra I used to run,” says Jane. “The children acted it out which sparked the idea for a children’s concert.”
You may be thinking that this type of performance will take months to rehearse, but the Adriamus Ensemble fine tune their masterpieces in just two days.
“I really think the children enjoy it and learn something. It’s nice to see them getting involved in the singing, clapping and just having fun,” says cello player Nick Squires. The best bit? “Seeing the children smile as we perform.”
This was the first time the Adriamus Ensemble had performed for a children’s literature festival. And Jane doesn’t want to stop there. This event has inspired her to write more music for children’s literature. “It’s perfect,” she says. “We do arts festivals and music festivals but this is really nice. We are so ready for more children’s festivals!”