A showing of Home Alone, the movie that propelled Macaulay Culkin to stardom in the 90s, presented to an eager audience in the swanky surrounds of the Royal Albert Hall and accompanied by the fantastic John Williams soundtrack being played live by Cinematic Sinfonia and the Crouch End Festival Chorus? Tickets please!
The first of two sold out showings of this now iconic Christmas film, it was most definitely a performance to remember. The movie was shown on a huge screen set above the orchestra, with subtitles turned on both for the hard of hearing and, one would imagine, for those moments when the music drowned out the events on screen, though that hardly ever happened in the matinee showing we attended.
For those unfamiliar with this 28-year-old film, due to a power cut and a mistake in headcount, eight-year-old Kevin McCallister (Macaulay Culkin) is left at home alone (see what they did there?) while his family fly off to Paris, only realising they had forgotten him when they’re in the air. As the family attempt to get back to him, Kevin must not only fend for himself in such mundane ways as showering and making food, but it turns out that the house has been targeted by the infamous criminal duo “The Wet Bandits” (Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern). Kevin must defend his house by any means necessary; and it turns out that those means involve clothes irons, blowtorches, Christmas baubles and the occasional tarantula.
READ MORE: Catch all of our event reviews from 2018
Accompanying the onscreen action, the music was provided by the superb Cinematic Sinfonia. The highest praise that I can give is that I often simply forgot they were there. Each little incidental sting, each moment of action, every note was delivered perfectly. Being joined by the Crouch End Festival Chorus for the closing pieces only raised the bar that much higher and the three ovations both received after the credits rolled were entirely justified.
Hearing the soundtrack played live definitely gave it an added level of clarity. Having also attended “A Celebration of John Williams in Concert” earlier this year, it would likely be very clear to almost anyone that this was a classic Williams score. There are more than a few hints of both Harry Potter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and even a little bit of Star Wars mixed in there. The main theme, especially, is very similar to the Harry Potter main theme, showcasing these turns of musical phrasing and timing that Williams is so fond of.
READ MORE: It’s Christmas!
Showing at both 2:30pm and 7pm on this day, both Home Alone showings were sell-outs. That’s 8,000 people who came to see this film being shown live. It was fascinating to watch and listen to both adults and children getting into the action onscreen, to hear the laughter as much as the winces and intakes of breath, the shouts of encouragement and sighs of relief as Kevin narrowly escaped his pursuers time and time again.
There have been a number of these types of performances at the Royal Albert Hall during 2018, including Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Gladiator and Harry Potter with more planned in 2019, including Skyfall and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. These events are more than worth the time and money to attend.