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WFEL Fairey Band

Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers
Conductor: Phil Chalk
Durham Brass Festival
Saturday 15th July



The music to accompany the stop motion animation of a classic ‘Wallace and Gromit’ film is a combination right up anyone’s street.

So, when I saw that a special screening of ‘The Wrong Trousers’  (which turns 30 this year!) was being held at this year’s Durham Brass Festival, I couldn’t resist going to check it out.

Wrong Trousers

‘The Wrong Trousers’  was one of the many ticketed events being held at Durham’s Gala Theatre, and people of all ages braved a torrential downpour to see the wacky adventures of Wallace, Gromit and the evil Feathers McGraw who takes a criminal interest in Wallace’s ‘techno trousers’ invention. 

Before the main event, the audience was warmed up by an eclectic programme of music from the band. I’m a huge fan of orchestral movie scores, but nothing I have listened to contains any brass band element, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It is safe to say my expectations were more than exceeded. 

Both the band and music were engaging, uplifting and most importantly, fun. 

Nostalgia

Like most nineties’ kids, ‘Wallace and Gromit’ was a huge part of my life growing up, and as soon as the intro and its iconic theme song started to play, my heart swelled with nostalgia.

If it wasn’t for them being in my eyeline allowing me to see the slight movement of the conductor’s hands, I’d swear I was just watching the movie. The band was flawless.

The second instalment of Nick Park’s iconic series sees Wallace take in a lodger, the devious penguin master criminal Feathers McGraw. As he drives Gromit out of his home, the swell of the score with Gromit’s tears emphasised on the big screen, made my own eyes blur more than usual.

If it wasn’t for them being in my eyeline allowing me to see the slight movement of the conductor’s hands, I’d swear I was just watching the movie. The band was flawless.

Star

After the robbery, the absolute star of the show was the railway track chase scene. 

The playing was immaculate. Every note hit, every beat smashed, with the audience young and old applauding as the band played Feathers off to prison accompanied by the famous theme tune.

Twenty-five minutes of fantastic stop-motion animation, culminates in Gromit outsmarting Feathers McGraw, gun and all - finally capturing the penguin in a glass milk bottle. 

The playing was immaculate. Every note hit, every beat smashed, with the audience young and old applauding as the band played Feathers off to prison accompanied by the famous theme tune.

You can never tire of watching Wallace and Gromit or listening to movie scores, especially brought together in a live event in such a spectacular way. The countdown until 2025, when ‘A Close Shave’ celebrates its 30th anniversary can’t come soon enough.

Amy Smith

Published with permission.  A full version of this review appeared in The Northern Echo newspaper. 
https://www.thenorthernecho.co.uk/news/23658266.fairey-band-play-wallace-gromit-durham-brass-2023/

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