The Nightmare Before Christmas Live
- Kelly Apter
- 5 December 2019
Tim Burton's 1993 animated film never sounded so good, as Jack Skellington and co bring the film's soundtrack to life on stage
The woman sitting in front of me has painted her face blue, drawn stitches across her skin and looks every inch the loveable rag doll Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. Such effort does not go unnoticed ("if only we could charge a fiver for selfies", quips her companion after a busy interval), but while most of us have just turned up in everyday clothes, the collective love for Tim Burton's film is palpable, echoing around an excitable Hydro.
The film's composer (and the singing voice of Jack Skellington) Danny Elfman fronted a rock band for many years, and it shows. He's clearly in his element each time he steps up to deliver one of his self-penned classics, from 'What's This?' to 'Making Christmas', and the crowd, quite rightly, adores him.
Burton's film has become something of a cult classic over the years, so the opportunity to see it on the big screen is treat enough. When you add in a full-sized orchestra (in this instance the superb Royal Scottish National Orchestra), a mini-chorus of four character singers, guest violinist Sandy Cameron and the film's original vocalists Elfman, Catherine O'Hara (Sally) and Ken Page (Oogie Boogie) it becomes something very special indeed.
At times, the film takes centre stage, showing on all three large screens as the orchestra plays the score below. But with each song, the central image is devoted to the singers, the film showing on either side. It's a lot to take in, both visually and aurally, but feels rich and exciting rather than overwhelming.
An event such as this was always going to be more than the sum of its parts, but The Nightmare Before Christmas Live exceeds even those expectations. We walk away warmed by the glow of talent and teamwork, having fallen in love (all over again) with the film and its songs.
Reviewed at Glasgow SSE Hydro