Review | The hauntingly enchanting sounds of ‘Hymns for End Times’

Hymns for End Times | His Majesty’s Theatre | ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Rachael Dease teams up with WASO and Voyces to perform her eclectic and ethereal sounds that were borne out of a time when bushfires ravaged the Eastern Coast and fears that the world was ending came to the forefront of her mind as she nursed her newborn.

At the opening of curtain we are exposed to a meticulously planned chaos of newspapers shaped into a garbage wave in the wind, the budget was not spared when designing this set, roots from trees slowly descend above the orchestra as to light bulbs, golden flecks and all up against a dark backdrop which flickers the stars of the universe before becoming the stark, bare back wall of the old theatre, pipes exposed and all.

The choral voices of Voyces lent greatly to the ethereal and cinematic sounds of the piece which created an eerie and unsettling experience. WASO performed exceptionally especially with their use of percussive instruments and the disintegrating sounds of the brass and string instruments toward the end a Dease ascends and exits in her incredibly glorious dress, shoulder pads and a flow that coupled with the light show drew in warmth and then took it away with cold precision.

Dease reminded me in this performance of a very sombre Florence Welch, yet equally tender and compassionate. It was as if each song soothed and protected you from the danger that was just outside.

This piece truly is an ensemble work and the cohesion of the performers meant they blended as one leaving no one standing out which is a testament to putting the product first in my eyes. The show going only 60 minutes is the shortest sitting of classical music I’ve attended and one where the audience felt very compelled to hold the space with silences until the final applause.

If you’re a fan of classical music and hauntingly enchanting vocals then Hymns from the End Times, be sure to catch this show should it return. You can also stream the album now on all good streaming platforms.

Hymns for End Times was staged as part of Perth Festival. Check out what else is on this season at

Kyle J. Kash, image: Daniel Grant

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