Scheherazade Review by Kathryn Barnes

Scheherazade by Toukie Wood
Review by Kathryn Barnes – 18 May 2019

Scheherazade was the fabled storyteller of ‘The Arabian Nights’, who had the gift of continuing stories of adventure and wonder for one thousand and one nights to prevent her execution by the Persian Sultan. He was captivated by the stories, fell in love with her and they lived happily ever after. Scheherazade, Op 35. is also a symphonic suite composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov in 1888 based on the stories of The Arabian Nights.

Toukie Wood is a young composer and classical musical artist who has taken the concept of Scheherazade and created a show based on its style. On arrival at the Lakewood Nursery, we were given a paper lily and escorted by boys in top hat and tails down a long winding path into a lagoon and rainforest where twinkling lights were hung through the trees and shrubs to create a beautiful wonderland. In the lilies were placed a candle and they were sent out drifting into the middle of the lagoon. On a small stage, Toukie dressed in a resplendent blue gown started the story and the musicians began their first piece.

Each part of the fantasy was told linking images and concepts from well-known tales, myths and fables. After each narration, a musical rendition continued to tell the tale and the audience sat back in the splendour of the rainforest basking in the richness of sound and space. The frogs and nightlife burst into song alongside the musicians and the moon-filled sky added to the ethereal atmosphere. This show was fascinating and enthralling. One small comment would be to include highs and lows, light and shade to add depth to the performance.

Toukie Wood who composed the music for this show is a talented musician with a promising career ahead of her. Her fellow musicians were also brilliant and the performance was professional and committed. The hour skipped by quickly and proved too short for such a wonderful performance which could easily been soaked up by the audience for longer. If you love classical music or just music in general, look out for the name of Toukie Wood and you are sure to be taken on a journey of wonder and enchantment.

Scheherazade played for one show only on 18 May.

Kathryn Barnes