Red Cello Electrified (2 stars)

This article is from 2010.

Red Cello Electrified

South African cellist plugs in

When thinking of solo cello music, something like Bach’s ‘Six Suites For Unaccompanied Cello’ generally springs to mind. Perhaps something more conventional such as this should have been in South African soloist Carol Thorns' thoughts also, as her passionate and highly accomplished playing was let down by her attempts to ‘electrify’ her instrument.

Playing stilted fragments of harmonically motionless melodies over a pre-recorded drum loop, whilst showing New Age-esque visuals in the background, her ‘multimedia performance’ is rather one dimensional. Her work may be unusual in the sense that no other cellist performs in this style, but it is devoid of excitement and innovation. Rather, she gives a superficial performance, with each piece hardly differing from the previous.

Thorns does have talent as an instrumentalist however, producing a rich, sonorous tone on her electric instrument, with nimble fingers and a swooping, bowing movement. She does not do herself justice as a musician here though, and her show would have been far more enjoyable had it been interspersed with more traditional repertoire, to showcase her expertise. As it stood, the overall performance was underwhelming to say the least.

Red Cello Electrified, C Central, 0845 260 1234, until Aug 30 (not 17), 8.30pm, £9.50 (£8.50).

Red Cello Electrified

  • 2 stars

South Africa's premiere electric cellist Carol Thorns takes traditional cello to a new level with an irresistible, multimedia performance. Audiences are carried through a series of breathtaking musical landscapes against a backdrop of evocative imagery provided by a VJ. 'Red Cello Electrified' is based on the album…


1. Juju13 Sep 2010, 8:16pm4 stars Red Cello Electrified Report

I saw the show twice and was greatly impressed by the performer's technique, her statuesque presence on stage, choice of varied material and her subtle and articulate narration which carried the audience forward on an intimate journey of her native country and city, Cape Town. I find it most puzzling that The List reviewer (Miranda Heggie) expected a classical performance - especially since it was billed as "Red Cello Electrified"- and to rate the performance according to her narrow expectation of the cello, having not read the description of the show properly, is very unfair, to put it mildly. The cello is not only a classical instrument and this point is at the heart of the show! Reviewers should be more careful of what they say and at least read the show description properly before rushing into print. And why on earth should one NOT electrify the cello? Equally why should one stick to Bach? This is the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2010, so get with the programme and be a little more open minded. The problem is with the reviewer, not the performer!

2. Juju14 Sep 2010, 5:50pm4 stars Red Cello Electrified Report

Fabulous show - Well done and keep it up.

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