Friday 11 August 2017

Theatre Review: The Magic Flute at The Kings Head

The Magic Flute, Kings Head Theatre, LondonDirector/Co-translator:  John SavourninConductor/Co-translator:  David EatonDesigner:  Simon BejerLighting Designer:  Nicholas Holdridge

Review: This is a reviewthat has been a long time coming for which I apologise, as the run of this Opera at the Kings Head is now over, but it is touring! And I still wanted to express my thoughts. This was something I had been looking forward to having originally seen a production of The Magic Flue a year before, and I enjoyed this fresh new take on it.

Opera is a difficult format to get into, especially for the younger generations. It was something I'd put off for a long while.Theatres are making it more accessible in terms of cost, but it is a very specific art form to commit to, appreciate and enjoy. But it is one with such a unique skill. It is something I want to like, and have seen a couple of Operas in an attempt to achieve this, including The Magic Flute at the ENO. That was a grand spectacle, massive beautiful sets, and impressive vocals. But without the visuals it was almost hard to understand. Enter the Charles Court Opera's interpretation and you have a winning formula. I could finally understand the beautiful words, the characterisations, the emotion and the fun that are at the core of this production. 

Mozart's Opera tells the story of Tamino tasked by the Queen of the Night to rescue Pamina. On his travels he meets Papageno on a quest to find his one true Papagena love. This story has a bit of everything, good versus bad, a quest, magic, deathly trials and here set in this beautiful jungle setting. You walk in feeling like you're part of the jungle and the action unfolds around you, putting you up close and personal. 

One of the strengths of this company is their combination of theatre and puppetry. I looovvveeee a good puppet, and here it worked beautifully from the three spirits in bird form to Papgena. She filed the space, literally growing into it, it felt imposing and I was engrossed. This was the fun plot line, where the humour could really play up, very much amped up by Matthew Kellett's performance, which was full of ham and substance in equal measure, and having seen him in a number of productions is a very skilled actor.  

The cast moved through the story beautifully, the pace was kept, there were moments of light and dark, the plot was allowed to floor within the comedy, but then moments of tenderness and sadness, and more importantly i really could listen to the words and what they meant. Opera doesn't have to be incomprehensible. 

Do watch out for Charles Court, they do some great things for which this will stand up among them!


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