INNEKA @ Heath Ledger Theatre gets 8/10

INNEKA @ Heath Ledger Theatre

Thursday, August 20, 2020


INNEKA is a new project by the Perth Symphony Orchestra that is looking to play with our expectations on the classical string quartet. Those in attendance at the official Launch Party would have come away convinced – this was a show that exuded both playfulness and class.

Perth Symphony Orchestra Founder and Executive Director Bourby Webster introduced the project. Webster is an icon in her own right, a figurehead in WA music and winner of the Western Australian of the Year awards in the Arts & Culture category. As a former member of Bond in the UK, Webster has a soft spot for the string quartet and recounted how she wanted to bring the concept back in a big way. INNEKA is Australia’s first all-electric string quartet, perfectly described as “Like Ministry of Sound having a hot night with Hans Zimmer in New York City.” The name itself is telling, an amalgam of “Innovation” and “Eureka.”

The ladies of INNEKA certainly lived up to those descriptors. The group are comprised of Sasha McCulloch on cello, Cheralyn Simpson on viola, and Jasmine Skinner and Madeleine Antoine on first and second violin. They came onto the stage to a big and bold rendition of Palladio which was a great introduction to the level of energy they brought. The song was carried off flawlessly, but it was the interplay between the musicians and their demeanour that carried the show. You could immediately tell they loved playing.

We as the crowd were uniquely positioned on stage at Heath Ledger Theatre, with the band facing us and away from the stage. This allowed for a more interactive experience, as each member took their turn to walk into the crowd and showcase their musical chops up close. McCulloch took a short turn to speak at the close of the first half and her passion shone through. All the members have been in the game a long time and have not only a dedication to playing, but also a playfulness and desire to incorporate all sorts of music into their act.

The show certainly bore this out, as the crowd were treated to classical renditions of some more pop-based tunes. Particularly rousing were the two numbers that closed both halves. This is where the “Ministry of Sound” reference must have come from, as they were both trance classics. First came Robert Miles’ Children which was given a sterling cover full of energy and flights of improvisation that wove in and out of the beautiful main melody. Closing proceedings was – of course – Sandstorm. The lightning pace of the original was retained, but the track was most interesting when the group floated across its furious grooves with their own phrasing. The inclusion of the Seven Nation Army riff was a particular standout.

Overall this was a great night and showcase for a very interesting and energetic new group that will be hot to watch going forward. Keep your eyes (and ears) trained.


Photos by Giselle Natassia