Her Majesty’s Theatre, Sun 18 Jun.
Music is an important part of rehabilitation and therapy in hospitals especially when done in harmony with the science. The Hush Foundation began in the Melbourne Children’s Hospital to make the most of this. Interestingly, it’s not just a question of using music, but the Foundation began on the premise of using the words and ideas of children either in hospital or visiting – as the kernels and ideas for the compositions, both musically and lyrically. So as part of the development of these works, the creative collaboration has included collaborating with children, collecting ideas and words. Hush 16 is bookended with an example of this which includes the earworm ‘when do adults get to play with Lego?’
On the stage we have various combinations of Lior (singer, songwriter, guitarist), The Idea Of North (a Cappella singing group), Elena Kats-Chernin (composer, singer, pianist), Zephyr Quartet, other ensemble musicians including Kaichiro Kitamura with some of the best beat boxing I’ve ever seen (actually it sounded like he was playing kit rather beat boxing – complete with appropriate arm and hand movements for the different parts of the kit!), as well as oboe and guest vocal spots by an Adelaide Youth Choir. The performance moves from song, to skit, to song, with each having different guest musicians and sounds – a great idea to try to help kids keep focus for the hour of the show (at least they do get to briefly zone out during the transitions).
While the professionalism of the main cast was evident throughout – the support they received from members of the children’s choir performing quite a few spoken word parts along the way, clearly and successfully battling with stage nerves – added some realism in that these were indeed the words and ideas of children.
After the first song the four members of The Idea Of North retired to the play table and had what was clearly a children’s conversation – you could literally see pennies dropping in the young faces around as they realised that these might be adults, but this was definitely a conversation that we might have, leading into a song about bullying. And bullying wasn’t the only example of darkness in the show – the collected children’s ideas included both darkness and light and neither the character of the music nor the lyrics shied away from these different voices.
It’s a great idea – positive therapy for health as well as educational and an example of adults actually listening to children (something that is quite rare in the world). Congratulations to the artistic directors for bringing this show from Melbourne, and the Women’s and Children’s Hospital (Adelaide) no doubt also much appreciated the visit and performance that they had!
I had a little quiz with my granddaughter as I dropped her home – what were the instruments that she could remember? There were quite a few (guitar and piano were easily remembered, violin a little harder – but Oboe, what was that, Grandad?). I also asked the question about the drums and percussion …there weren’t any, but there was!
Hush 16 is amazing experience created for and with children. Kids are not only exposed to a fabulous range of musical instruments, sounds and styles, as well as opening up a dialogue with their ‘grown up’ friends, but it benefits those children living in or visiting hospitals. Fantastic!
The Idea of North image courtesy of Kurt Sneddon