Review: Assassin’s Creed Symphony at the Apollo Theatre London

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Engaging

The orchestral performance of ten years of Assassin’s Creed games shows just how much love and effort has gone into creating something wonderful.

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In its London stop of the orchestra’s 2019 world tour, the true finesse of composers for the Assassin’s Creed franchise were played in their full glory; from Jesper Kyd to The Flight, each major release was performed by an 80-piece orchestra. Accompanying the music was clips and scenes from the franchise, blended marvelously to truly get the emotions across. There was a sense of time travelling through, so when the themes of each game began, we were walked through the paths each character had lead, from their beginnings to their highs and lows.

Each game was its own medley, each track almost leading seamlessly into the next, with a few exceptions. ‘Scheduled for Deletion’ was played as its corresponding cutscene was shown in its full weight, and ‘Undergroundplayed alongside our final look into the world of Victorian London in Syndicate. The clips shown were wonderful, with The Parting Glass playing over Edward Kenway meeting his daughter for the first time sending many a fan into tears.

From its fight tracks to the lighter themes, each was accompanied by the main characters and their journeys that fans know so well. Some cutscenes were also included, each chosen for its meaning for the wider audience. Several felt as if they were addressing the crowd, such as Ezio’s rally of the Assassins from Revelations and the more modern-day segments from Unity. It felt less as if we were watching something performed for us, but rather being welcomed back by family.

I must admit that I teared up at several points during the event, at the tracks and clips that meant the most to me and my journey through the franchise. But it wasn’t until the theme for Assassin’s Creed Syndicate (‘Bloodlines’) was beginning to play that I fully began to cry with joy. The game means so much to me and my journey through the franchise, and hearing the music performed live was something else entirely.

That is how you know that it means something significant to you.

Following the overture which featured clips from each game’s theatrical trailers, the orchestra guided audiences through each game, right from the beginning with 2007’s Assassins’ Creed I to 2018’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Each game was introduced with its logo and title card, and cheers would erupt from the audience of each; Black Flag and Origins were the two which received the loudest celebrations by far!

But that wasn’t the only surprise. After a brief encore, where the orchestra played a couple more tracks (notably the sea shanty Lowlands Away that was featured in Black Flag), special guests were welcomed onto the stage: composers of Odyssey The Flight, and Michael Antonakos who portrayed protagonist Alexios in the same title. I’d been lucky enough to meet him earlier in the evening, and it was a wonderful surprise to talk to him about the franchise that means so much to me.

There were several tracks that I was rather disappointed weren’t in the final setlist; ‘Jokes Jokes Jokes’ would have been an interesting one to add into the mix, as the mission it refers to occurs in a theatre in London. Add in a few lighting effects to reflect that moment in the game, and it would have made an amazing atmosphere!

The Assassin’s Creed Symphony continues its world tour in Berlin on November 8th, with more UK dates scheduled for Spring 2020.

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Second-year archaeology & history student and Culture Editor 2019/20. Loves archery and Assassin's Creed, and still hoping to one day find the doorway to Narnia.

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