Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells For Two

TheList-fringe

Review: The List – Edinburgh Fringe 2013

Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells For Two

4 stars

Australian musicians on a mission to recreate a prog masterwork during the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

There’s a full band’s worth of kit and more onstage, and only two young guys dressed all in black in charge of it. That’s in contrast to their audience, silver-haired ladies and gentlemen (mostly gentlemen) of a certain age, waiting expectantly for a return to their prog youth via the medium of an album whose reputation has persevered through the decades since its 1973 release.

As the familiar opening notes of the Exorcist-soundtracking ‘Tubular Bells Part One’ kick in, there are early indications they won’t be disappointed by this sonic recreation. Australians Daniel Holdsworth and Aidan Roberts have created what is, on one level, an accurate tribute act representation of a most unusual subject, and on another a work of pure theatre. They play guitars and plenty of them; keyboards; a kazoo; a drumkit at one poundingly atmospheric point late in ‘Part Two’; and, of course, a bank of tubular bells standing TARDIS-like and bathed in blue light in the background.

It’s a set of analogue immediacy, startlingly fluid musicianship and, perhaps most importantly, real dramatic tension as they race to meet each new musical cue. The fact they pause for breath and to ‘turn the record over’ midway through the show will doubtless charm their vinyl enthusiast target audience even more.