Hattie Lloyd 04/03/20

A Theremin Concert. In A Church. With Cocktails.

Retrophonica: Secrets of the Ancients | Theremin Concert

WoooOOOOOOooould you like to go to a theremin concert?

Well, good news: you’re invited to one next month. It’s being staged by the newly-established, but already distinctly excellent Retrophonica, who are steadily carving out a niche for themselves in bringing ancient and electronic instruments together in beautiful, unusual settings.

Their debut concert last October was a near-instant sell-out, and having been along ourselves we can vouch that they are the real deal. Now they’ve finally announced a second show, which will be taking place next month in a grandiose, 19th century church.

That church is St. John’s Waterloo, which – despite looking like a sizeable portion of the Parthenon has been ferried over and planted in South London – we can pretty much guarantee you’ve walked past a dozen times and never noticed, by virtue of sitting right opposite the IMAX cinema, plum in the middle of Waterloo’s commuter hustle and bustle.

Leaving all that behind as you walk in only makes this an even more magical setting, which Retrophonica will be enhancing through the artful use of dramatic lighting and stunning wall projections, screening vintage film footage and mesmerising animations to accompany the music.

Which brings us to the most important part of the evening. Theremin soloist Charlie Draper (dressed in a tail coat and looking every inch the part) will be playing alongside an immensely talented chamber orchestra, as well as a pianist, organist, and solo singers from the London Contemporary Voices choir. He’ll also be performing on the ondes Martenot; another rare, spectral instrument that’s essentially a 1920s synth keyboard.

On the programme this time is a mixture of new compositions by Draper and Retrophonica co-founder Charlie Palmer, as well as haunting arrangements of the likes of Mozart, Holst, Grieg and Debussy. They’re all tied together by the theme of the distant past, with each piece introduced by an actor reading mysterious ancient texts.

You know, like, building stone henge, brb.”


NOTE: Retrophonica: Secrets of the Ancients takes place at St. John’s Church, Waterloo, on 17th April. Tickets cost £20, and you can book HERE.

Retrophonica | St John’s Waterloo, 73 Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8TY

Like finding unusual things to do? Check out your monthly agenda

Retrophonica: Secrets of the Ancients

St John's Waterloo, 73 Waterloo Road, London, SE1 8TY