The world premiere of the documentary Alfie Boe ‘On The Wheels Of A Dream’ opened up the Manchester Film Festival at The Odeon.
Film Producer 101: When in doubt, place cute home-video footage of the subject’s younger years in the introductory scenes of the documentary, which has a very ambivalent audience.
And that’s exactly what happens. It begins with home-video footage in which a young and joyful Alfie follows the footsteps of his parents and sings, playing an imaginary guitar with a tennis racket. One of the primary instruments of rock ‘n’ roll is the guitar, and initial thoughts were what a ‘coincidental’ and strategic indication that his transition to rock n roll had fulfilled a childhood dream that ‘was meant to be’.
In between, we are shown the rise and fall of Alfie Boe as he transitions from his ‘publically assigned’ classical genre to an unfitting rock ‘n’ roll genre which, needless to say, is out of his element. The rest is scenes of Alfie touring in America with his band and manager, typical dad dancing and lengthened operatic vocals over rock music – it just doesn’t work. The documentary also shows scenes of the significant change of audience size as he aims to thrive in the states, some of which were embarassingly poor turnouts. Nonetheless, the footage truly captures his desire and happiness when performing rock n roll and shows his infectious personality and humour which charms his fans. It seems that he wins his fans over, his audience gradually grows and his success extends to the UK again. But how long will it last?
Director Lisa Edwards said, “I don’t think that it’s the end for him just because knowing the type of person that he is. But he just needs to find his way you know, because his fans were back. I think he lived his dream, he got to do it and if he gets back to it it would be great. If he doesn’t, I think he’s going to be fine.”
And I hope so too. This documentary however, doesn’t reflect the story of how a young boy born in Blackpool became one of the UK’s finest tenors as opposed to an ‘ English singing sensation’ which he was introduced as at the Yankee Stadium when singing the American National anthem. It’s safe to say that his personality and stage presence saved On The Wheels Of A Dream, which did no justice to the sheer talent that we were all initially drawn to.
We would like to thank Manchester Film Festival for the invitation to view this screening.