Pros: A new take on a classic show featuring fun songs and technical prowess.
Cons: Some of the play’s fantastic dialogue was not delivered as convincingly as it could have been.
This new production of The Beggar’s Opera brings a modern sense of fun to Gay’s classic and beloved show while preserving the show’s text and meaning. Many people will be familiar with The Beggar’s Opera, a satirical musical offering a political commentary on the dirty workings of society. With the current corruption and sly nature of politics, the musical remains highly relatable.
The Beggar’s Opera follows Macheath, an iconic and highly sexed highwayman, as he finds a larger-than-ever bounty being placed on his head after meeting and seducing Polly Peachum, a precious young woman who falls for his manipulative ways and false promises. Saucy, satirical and sensational, The Beggar’s Opera is gripping and highly amusing. The modernised elements of the show were well realised, giving a familiar script a breath of fresh air and helping to reignite the show’s passionate core. The new music and movement helped to make the production engaging for a contemporary audience whilst ringing true with the show’s plot.
Aside from a few incidents with a rogue fan falling over, the staging was incredible. The use of just a few key items of scenery including a desk and a ladder worked well within the small studio space. Seating was in the round which meant there were no bad seats or blocked views thanks to the minimal scenery. Stuart Glover’s lighting design was engaging and provided shadow and ambience which helped to convey the show’s dark criminal tone.
The entire cast contributed to the show’s musical numbers and while each actor gave a dedicated performance I felt as though the mere three weeks of rehearsals did not give the cast enough time to fully understand and convey Gay’s strong script. There was a slight disconnect between the lines being said and the way they were delivered. I believe that with more rehearsal time the talented cast could have mastered their delivery.
Without a doubt, I enjoyed all 80 minutes of this spectacular take on The Beggar’s Opera, from the staging to the music to the clever reinvention of the show’s story. The immersion of the audience in the show was second to none, thanks in part to the way this big and powerful production filled the small performance space. The production oozed both charm and sleaze: no-one in the audience was spared Macheath’s cocky allure and the play’s enticing plot captivated the audience. The Beggar’s Opera is well worth a watch – I thoroughly enjoyed this skillful revival of a classic play.
Author: John Gay
Adapted and directed by: Ricky Dukes
Producer: Lazarus Theatre Company
Composer and lyricist: Bobby Locke and Chris Drohan
Booking Link: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/brockleyjackstudio/events
Booking Until: 3 December 2016