4starsculture

When were you last read a bedtime tale?

Musicians, artists, actors, historians, teachers and talented school children brought the ancient art of storytelling to life in the ethereal Christ Church Spitalfields with one-off concert Timeless Tales on 4 October 2012.

London Arts Orchestra, led by conductor Ed Farmer, collaborated with director David Betz-Heiniemann and People at Play to deliver the music of three stage and film classics: Disney's Sleeping Beauty (Pyotr Tchaikovsky), War Horse (Adrian Sutton) and West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein).

Pages from books twirl in the air, suspended above an expectant audience, lit in hues of purple, red and blue. A restored grade 1 listed Baroque building with simple 300-year-old interior decoration; Christ Church is a beautiful empty space for music and imaginations to soar.

timeless tales

London Arts Orchestra

Writer and actor Giles Roberts starts the evening with a reading of his own work; the story of a bullied boy dreading the first day back at school. Pacing exuberantly amongst the audience and between the church pillars, Roberts takes us on an adventure of childhood discovery.

timeless tales

Writer and Performer Giles Roberts

The narrator's harrassed protagonist finds refuge in the pages of inspirational books in his school library, leading us into the first musical section: Sleeping Beauty Suite.

The sounds of Tchaikovsky fill Christ Church Spitalfields: flutes, violinists, cellos and harps evoking scenes of Prince Charming climbing the tower to his sleeping sweetheart in the 1959 animated film.

The second suite of music is the pièce de résistance of the evening - a sublime rendition of War Horse.

The music from the show, adapted from Michael Morpurgo's children's book, is intrinsic to the stage puppetry of Joey the horse. From his scenes as a shy foal, to the terror in the trenches, Joey's kicking hoofs and twitching ears are masterfully choreographed to the strings and trumpets of Sutton's suite. The London Arts Orchestra deliver the magic of the show faultlessly.

timeless tales

London Arts Orchestra

The final section, West Side Story Symphonic Dances, gives the evening some American swagger, complete with finger-clicking, toe-tapping and blaring trumpets.

timeless tales

London Arts Orchestra

Timeless Tales feels very much about the music - the interlinking narrative by storyteller Giles Roberts provides humorous contrast, whilst showing the performer to have quite a flair for children's literature. However, passages read from the overlooking mezzanine galleries are lost in the acoustics of the church. A microphone, or a less restless speaker, would have been a remedy.

A star of the evening is Martha of Gatehouse Primary School, who delights all with the reading of her own short story "Snoring Beauty", showing talent beyond her years.

timeless tales

London Arts Orchestra

An intoxicating combination of arts, visuals, music and storytelling, Timeless Tales gives its small audience a rare treat to be close to such classical talent.

Future concerts from the London Arts Orchestra and People At Play:

When the Light Goes Out, Thursday 29 November 2012, 7.30pm, Christ Church Spitalfields

Love Letters, Thursday 7 February 2013, 7.30pm, Christ Church Spitalfields

Loading Slideshow...
  • (Photo credit: Alex Brenner)

  • (Photo credit: Alex Brenner)

  • (Photo credit: Alex Brenner)

  • (Photo credit: Alex Brenner)

  • (Photo credit: Alex Brenner)

  • (Photo credit: Alex Brenner)

  • (Photo credit: Alex Brenner)

  • (Photo credit: Alex Brenner)

  • (Photo credit: Alex Brenner)

  • (Photo credit: Alex Brenner)

  • (Photo credit: Alex Brenner)

  • (Photo credit: Alex Brenner)

Take a look at all of HuffPost UK's theatre reviews:

Loading Slideshow...
  • ‘Leaving Planet Earth' And ‘Long Distance Affair', Edinburgh Festival

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/09/01/edinburgh-festival-review_n_3852176.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Tragedy of Coriolanus, Beijing People's Art Theatre, Edinburgh International Festival

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/08/23/the-tragedy-of-coriolanus_n_3806736.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/matthew-tucker/charlie-chocolate-factory_b_3502220.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW</strong></a>

  • The Cripple of Inishmaan, Noel Coward Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/26/the-cripple-of-inishmaan_n_3465766.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW</strong></a>

  • Sweet Bird of Youth, The Old Vic

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/17/sweet-bird-of-youth_n_3455786.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW</strong></a>

  • Passion Play, Duke of York's Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/09/passion-play-review_n_3412558.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Fallen In Love, The Tower of London

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/05/18/fallen-in-love-review-anne-boleyn_n_3298805.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Proof, The Menier Chocolate Factory

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/30/proof-review_n_2955940.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Peter And Alice, Noel Coward Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/26/peter-and-alice-review_n_2956014.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Winslow Boy, The Old Vic

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/22/the-winslow-boy-review_n_2908079.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Audience, Gielgud Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/07/the-audience-review_n_2828362.html" target="_blank"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Macbeth, Trafalgar Studios

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/02/26/macbeth-review-james-mcavoy_n_2768388.html"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Desolate Heaven, Theatre503

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/02/10/desolate-heaven-review_n_2658709.html"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Showstoppers, Royal Albert Hall

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/02/06/the-showstoppers-review_n_2616047.html"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Old Times, Harold Pinter Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/31/old-times-review-kristin-scott-thomas_n_2594377.html"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Cirque Du Soleil's Kooza, Royal Albert Hall

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/21/cirque-du-soleils-kooza-review_n_2521495.html"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Bodyguard, Adelphi Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/12/06/the-bodyguard-review_n_2250701.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • We Are Most Amused, Royal Albert Hall

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/28/blackadder-return-review_n_2207930.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Kiss Me Kate, Old Vic

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/27/kiss-me-kate-old-vic-review_n_2201155.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Unleashed, Barbican

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/24/unleashed-review_n_2184691.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Upstairs Room, King's Head Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/20/the-upstairs-room-review_n_2167940.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Dark Earth And Light Sky, Almeida Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/19/the-dark-earth-and-the-light-sky_n_2161070.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Where The Mangrove Grows, Theatre503

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/12/where-the-mangrove-grows_n_2118923.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Forests, Barbican

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/07/naked-shakespeare-forests-review_n_2087315.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Uncle Vanya, Vaudeville Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/05/uncle-vanya-review-anna-friel_n_2076358.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Forever Crazy Starring Kelly Brook, Crazy Horse Cabaret

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/11/02/kelly-brook-cabaret-show-forever-crazy-review_n_2063878.html#slide=1712838"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW</strong></a>

  • Nosferatu, Barbican

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/31/nosferatu-review_n_2053085.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The River, Royal Court Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/28/the-river-review_n_2036119.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Michael Clark's Company - New Work, Barbican

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/19/michael-clark-company-new-work-2012-review_n_1984549.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Ding Dong The Wicked, Royal Court Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/10/ding-dong-the-wicked-review_n_1956042.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Second Mrs Tanqueray, Rose Theatre Kingston

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/08/the-second-mrs-tanqueray-review_n_1949503.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Timeless Tales, Christ Church Spitalfields

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/07/timeless-tales-review_n_1946667.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Our Boys, Duchess Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/04/our-boys-review_n_1938732.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Charley's Aunt, Menier Chocolate Factory

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/01/charleys-aunt-review_n_1930941.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • A Chorus of Disapproval, Harold Pinter Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/30/a-chorus-of-disapproval-review_n_1927155.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Let It Be, Prince of Wales Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/24/let-it-be-review-beatlemania-hits-the-west-end_n_1911281.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Mademoiselle Julie, Barbican

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/20/mademoiselle-julie-review_n_1902105.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Three Sisters, Young Vic

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/09/13/three-sisters-review-young-vic_n_1882599.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Philadelphia, Here I Come!, Donmar Warehouse

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/08/01/philadelphia-here-i-come-review_n_1726879.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Ten Billion, Royal Court Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/18/countdown-to-ten-billion_n_1684762.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • A Doll's House, young Vic

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/10/a-dolls-house-the-young-vic-review_n_1661048.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Land of Giants, Titanic Causeway, Belfast

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/07/01/land-of-giants-belfast-2012-art-show_n_1641600.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • The Last of the Haussmans, National Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/20/julie-walters-returns-to-_n_1611164.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Posh, Royal Court Theatre

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/17/laura-wade-posh-review_n_1603638.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>

  • Gross und Klein, Barbican

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/05/14/cate-blanchett-on-stage-gross-und-klein_n_1514595.html" target="_hplink"><strong>CLICK TO READ REVIEW.</strong></a>