2014 Melbourne Fringe
Space Orchestra Plays to Bugs Bunny Cartoons

Posted on 29 September 2014

I am a long time Bugs Bunny fanatic. To this day I can quote verbatim various episodes of the cartoon show. When I heard that Phantom Panda Power Wizard Master Smasher was performing the music of Bugs Bunny and Road Runner to the actual cartoons, I was not only intrigued but downright excited!

I am not precious about the sanctity of original works. The more people engage with a work and make it their own, the greater homage is being done to the creator. In this way a new generation of creators have the opportunity to hone their skills. Fan fiction has been around for a very long time. From as early as the twelfth century you can find manuscripts where people have taken on the style of a favourite author, written a story in their genre, and attached the favourite author’s name to the work. It’s only with the idea of the author as literary hero that people became concerned about attribution. Attribution is important, support of artists is important, but so is free play.

Phantom Panda’s take on Carl Stalling’s orchestral compositions, as well as the many classical works used by Warner Brothers for the Looney Tunes, is a real delight. They create something utterly unique, bringing a contemporary sensibility to old favourites. I love how they ensure that every sound, every note they make, fits meticulously into the action of the cartoons as they are projected onto a large cloth screen.

They describe themselves as blending “the drama of the symphony and the intensity of highly orchestrated rock.” Phantom Panda certainly have a prog rock meets heavy metal vibe. They most remind me of Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who are tremendously popular in the US.

Blue Grassy Knoll have been creating blue grass scores to play in conjunction with Buster Keaton films for years. However, where Blue Grassy Knoll choose to be relatively invisible while playing to such classics as The General, Phantom Panda go out of their way to be a part of the fun. One performer has a peculiar umbrella hat, another wears a panda mask, and one guitarist has the most awesome metallic shoulder pads that shoot out red laser beams through the haze of a smoke machine.

This is a glorious night out. I can highly recommend it for big and little kids who don’t mind some noise served up with their cartoon silliness.

Phantom Panda Power Wizard Master Smasher – The Brutal Rabbit of Seville from Phantom Panda on Vimeo.

Tickets: http://www.melbournefringe.com.au/fringe-festival/show/space-orchestra-plays-to-bugs-bunny-cartoons/

Peace and kindness,



1 Response to 2014 Melbourne Fringe
Space Orchestra Plays to Bugs Bunny Cartoons

  • Kris says:

    this show was among the most entertaining, most exciting and over all fantastic show off all time. i only had two problems with it. one was that it finished early (the website said it would run for 1hour and really it was closer to 30-45minutes) this really sucked because the show was so excited and engaging that time already was flying by, and when it finished everyone just wanted that little bit more. which brings me to my next bit..

    it just ended. it ended the same way that it did between episodes. so the last episode finished and everyone expected one or two more. everyone gave a clap, but where not too enthusiastic with their claps because we thought the was still one more and didn’t want to interrupt. we sat there and the house lights came on. then everyone checked the time and it was 7:45 or so (they didn’t actually start rolling till roughly 7:10) and figured maybe it was an intermission? then we noticed the band was packing up their equipment and we just got up and left. it was really strange. they never got the applause they deserved because we didn’t think they where finished!

    anyway, what they have done is mind blowingly awesome show, with out a question of a doubt. it was just those two things where a little confusing.

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