Billed as an “underwater odyssey of music and story-telling”, Jarvis Cocker’s Wireless Night at the Proms brings the imagination of his Radio 4 programme to the Royal Albert Hall, which is bathed in a watery blue light.
Cocker emerges from the stage floor, reclined on a brass-framed bed as he ponders the strange world of the human unconscious, and switches on the shipping forecast.
Wagner’s overture for “The Flying Dutchman” is followed by Cocker singing a comical rendition of “Aqua Marina” from the 60s television show Stingray, before those ominous two notes from Jaws (predictable yet still glorious) begin.
Tales of underwater adventure are woven together by his engaging narration in typical laconic style, and cut through the music. For one, a free-diver speaks of her experiences as she ventures deeper into the water, while another uses audio from interviews with Roger Mallinson and Roger Chapman, the two men involved in the deepest sub rescue in history.
The grandeur of someone performing Bach's "Leibster Jesu" on the Royal Albert Hall’s recently-refurbished organ, or Saint-Saëns’ “Aquarium” suite from “Carnival of the Animals”, will never lose its magic, but witnessing these masterpieces "underwater" is something else altogether.