Everyone I mentioned this show to asked the same question: 'What’s a theremin?' I'd try and explain: 'it’s an instrument, the one you play by just waving your hands about. I think it’s in the Doctor Who theme. If you still can’t picture it, give it a quick Google.' As it turns out, the hand waving is incredibly sophisticated and the Doctor Who theme was actually created by spliced together tape loops and hand-tuned oscillators (no prizes for guessing where I learned that), although the time-travelling capers included in Hypnotique Presents: Totally Wired would make you think otherwise.
An utterly unique immersion into the development of electronic music
This multi-media production takes you on a whistle-stop tour of electronic music, starting with the invention and development of electricity (thanks, Nikola Tesla!) and ending with a vision of the future. Energetically led by Hypnotique, unusually introduced as Britain’s third best theremin player, the show seems somewhat confused as to who its audience should be. There were interactive competitions and a personified time machine, which made the whole performance seem to be pitched towards children. However, they also relied on music nostalgia (remember Kraftwerk?) and provided a barrage of information. On the plus side, if you ever happen to come across a Trivial Pursuit question on German robot-pop or the origins of the synthesiser after going, you’ll have it sorted.
Audience ambiguity aside, our thereminist (yes, that is an actual word) was affable, enthusiastic and droll, speaking with enough passion to encourage any audience to find a surprising kind of beauty in her instrument’s bizarre sound. It is this which makes the musical interludes engaging, enjoyable and, in truth, it is the highlight of the performance.
If you’ve read all that and are still curious, even in spite of that dreaded utterance ‘audience interaction’ which will scare off many, then fill your boots – Hypnotique Presents: Totally Wired is novel and thoroughly anecdote-worthy. For obvious reasons, don’t go if you don’t feel like forgiving the occasional patronisation or can’t stand electronic music. It’s an utterly unique immersion into the development of electronic music, but not one for the half-hearted.