LIVE THEATRE REVIEW — Threepenny Opera

The Threepenny Opera is written by Bertolt Brecht with music by Kurt Weill and adapted for English audiences by Marc Blitzstein. The Walterdale’s production is directed by Curtis Knecht with music direction by Sally Hunt.

The “opera” is set in London just before the coronation of Queen Victoria. The main characters are beggars, murderers, sex workers, petty thieves, and generally morally bankrupted individuals. The plot revolves around the “marriage” of Macheath (“Mack the Knife”) and Polly Peachum, whose father, J.J. Peachum sells “begger’s licences” to profit off of human pity and doesn’t want his daughter tarnished through matrimony with a known criminal. Mrs. Peachum is J.J.’s partner in orchestrating the near downfall of Macheath as nearly no character has any redeeming moral qualities.

The production features live music, solo and ensemble numbers. The songs have a jazzy-ballad quality and are used to develop characters and forward the action of the plot. It is at times hard to hear the words over the band, and difficult to understand with the London accents of the actors. The cast is large and the production is ambitious with many side plots.

Mack’s gang stands out of the performance: A foolhardy group of ne’er-do-wells whose giggly, gesticulating energy draws the crowd in with their over-the top skittishness. There are many light moments as all of the questionable characters in the play reveal their humourous underbellies. Charity G. Principe stands out as Jenny with a sharp accent and smooth singing voice, and the veteran actors who portray the Peachums anchor the play. This is an enjoyable community musical theatre production.

Special praise is deserved by the stitchers for the impressive Victorian costumes.

Three stars out of five.

The Threepenny Opera runs until April 16th at the Walterdale Playhouse


Photo Credit: Douglas Dollars


more in Theatre Review     |     posted Apr 8th, 2011 at 2:29pm     

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