Review: CASINO ROYALE IN CONCERT, Royal Albert Hall

A truly immersive and satisfying treat

By: Nov. 18, 2022
Review: CASINO ROYALE IN CONCERT, Royal Albert Hall

Review: CASINO ROYALE IN CONCERT, Royal Albert Hall As the rain pours and the Chancellor's statement rings in our ears, escapism is what we all need and James Bond always fits the bill. To continue the celebrations of 60 years of James Bond at the Royal Albert Hall, the venue is showing some of the most recent films in concert and last night Casino Royale In Concert returned to the Royal Albert Hall for the first time since 2017.

Casino Royale was Daniel Craig's first outing as James Bond in 2006 and was lauded as an intelligent and nuanced reinvention of 007. Looking back, it is easy to see what brilliant casting Craig was; portraying a haunted and hunted man with a lethal streak and an ability to make quips without ever sending up the character.

We follow Bond as he earns his 00 status and must tackle global baddie Le Chiffre, played with quiet malevolence by Mads Mikkelsen. M (a redoubtable Dame Judi Dench) instructs Bond to defeat Le Chiffre - and therefore deny the terrorists of all their resources - at a single high-rollers' card game in Montenegro.

The Treasury official accompanying Bond is Eva Green's haughty Vesper Lynd with whom Bond falls in love and, ultimately, has his heart broken, forecasting his subsequent womanising behaviour. It is a more raw and emotional Bond; a character rather than a caricature.

The evening was elevated by an introduction by the film's composer, David Arnold. He collaborated on the title track "You Know My Name" with the late Chris Cornell; more rock in style than previous tracks, but refreshingly different, with lyrics and themes inspired by Bond's story. He revealed that he was involved before Daniel Craig was cast, but when he was, it was clear that the music needed to reflect him directly.

There is little of the film that is without music. An indefatigable Anthony Gabriele shows his wealth of experience in these concerts. He gracefully conducts a sparkling Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, who bring truly elegant strings, resonant drums and slick brass to the music.

Arnold's score reflects the more serious and dramatic themes of the plot, while ramping up the excitement and pace. The incredible construction site chase gives the whole orchestra a full workout.

Arnold also gives the brass section a huge task in the airport scene, which lasts for, what must be an exhausting, fifteen minutes. There is also nuance in the score along with the tension and drama and Gabriele dips the pace beautifully with the deceptively simple piano in Vesper's shower scene.

The classic John Barry theme tune is saved for the closing credits, as Arnold leads into reflecting how Bond has progressed in the film to become the agent that we all recognise. We are fed hints of the theme throughout the film, such as when he wins the Aston Martin in a game of cards and when he puts his tuxedo on for the first time. It feels like a subtle build-up throughout that is richly rewarded and makes Barry's theme all the more enjoyable.

James Bond was made for these concert performances; a truly immersive and satisfying treat.

Skyfall In Concert is on 18 November and Spectre In Concert runs from 19 -20 November at the Royal Albert Hall



What JRR Tolkien would have thought of Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers is anyone’s guess but one suspects that the Oxford don would rather have enjoyed the live concert treatment at the Royal Albert Hall.

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From This Author - Aliya Al-Hassan

Aliya Al-Hassan is UK Managing Editor of BroadwayWorld. A London-based theatre critic and journalist, she has a life-long passion for the arts, with a focus on theatre. She is always keen to... Aliya Al-Hassan">(read more about this author)



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