Sir David Attenborough, State Theatre, Aug 10
*** Sir David Attenborough has announced a new visit to Australia for 2013, head here for details
Sir David Attenborough could be your grandpa. He has this wonderful, endearing and charming nature about him, freely sharing countless stories like he's about to pop if he doesn’t get them out of his system. For two whole hours we get to listen to sweet nothings from a man who has really lived a life of wondrous adventure.
Like many others I grew up with Attenborough in my lounge room. He was my first link to the beautiful and mysterious entities of this planet, his voice soothing and rich. I’ll never forget those enchanting moments of being walked from one end of the earth to the other, to magic places - being brought up close and personal with some of the world’s most wonderful creatures. That look of amazement on his face as a monstrous blue whale broke the surface only metres from his boat, or the look in a seal’s eyes just as it was taken by a killer whale. That used to make me cry. These moments became so precious because of an incredible man who just wanted the rest of the world to see what he saw, and do all they could to preserve it.
And there he is. Sitting on a chair being interviewed by Ray Martin in front of a screen of stars that reached all the way to the ceiling. It's a brilliant backdrop within Sydney’s State Theatre, an incredibly detailed and stunningly beautiful building, and sets the mood perfectly for the event. Taking a This Is Your Life-esque tone, we're treated to a magical evening of stories and footage, reliving some of Attenborough's greatest tales and experiences.
Though he’s always used state of the art equipment and been at the forefront of progress and development in the documentary world, the use of today’s technology allows Attenborough and his team to do some pretty special stuff. During the show we get to see a snippet of his latest 3D spectacular, Flying Monsters
, where CGI is used to bring pre-historic creatures to life. VERY COOL.
While we might think that 86-year-olds would display behaviour more akin to a sloth, Attenborough is energetic, with the playful inquisitive nature of a seal pup. Even after all these years he has a child-like curiosity, retelling his stories with awe as if he's experiencing them for the very first time. Showing no signs of slowing down, his age is only really given away as he hobbles off the stage - the rest of the time he's relaxed, entertaining and effortlessly funny.
Sir David touches on the topic of overpopulation and the need for politicians to make hard and perhaps unpopular decisions if we are to save future generations from possible catastrophes. Despite the growing list of environmental problems we face, he remains fixated on the notion that we live in a wonderful world - even the world's most ruthless Grinch would be onside listening to the man speak. He defends even the most humble creature, with one particular story is recounted of Attenborough lecturing two girls on how beautiful the sea cucumber is, after they dare to call it ugly.
After a standing ovation Sir David Attenborough waves goodbye, leaving the vast stage of stars behind him, and I think to myself: I really have to do something with my life. At one point Ray Martin jokes that he must really hate his job and to this Attenborough modestly replies, “Someone has to do it”, but I really question if anyone could ever “do it” like he does ever again.