Dr Dee - Palace Theatre Manchester, 3 July 2011
It’s a stretch (if not a downright cheek) to call Damon Albarn’s Dr Dee an opera – even if the composer does take a Tosca-style plunge from the battlements at the very end. Labels like rock musical don’t fit well either though. Built around vignettes from the life of the Elizabethan mathematician/magician Dr John Dee, it’s an odd hybrid. With a mixture of musical styles, no clear narrative line and surprisingly little singing, it flits from scene to scene without ever settling on anything like a theme, a structure or a story. Something like MTV in other words. And it’s amplified to the point where the volume itself becomes a defining feature.