The Beggar’s Opera at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Written in 1728, John Gay’s satirical drama, The Beggar’s Opera was the first known ballad opera, poking fun at the very popular extravagant Italian opera of the time.  It is a silly story, but one filled with vivid characters and popular folk tunes. Acclaimed director Lucy Bailey brings this raucous tale to the seasonal Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre for a limited run.

To one side of the stage a small band, the City Waites, provide the music using authentic instruments. Led by a lively Roddy Skeaping on violin and bass viol, the band is fantastic – rich in tone and characte,r adding depth to the narrative. The stage is appropriately decorated with beds and wooden carts, a clever and adaptable design from William Dudley.

The large cast are full of oomph, despite the wearying heat, and act and sing with a youthful energy. Jasper Britton is a suitably stern Mr Peachum, and Janet Fullerlove is hilarious as his wife; she seems to revel in Gay’s wickedly naughty script.

I loved watching the frantic catfights between Lucy (Beverly Rudd) and Polly (Flora Spencer-Longhurst) who certainly got the most laughs on the night. With a buoyant attitude and a belter of a voice, Rudd conquers the expansive Regent’s Park stage. Spencer-Longhurst, bright faced and wide eyed as the innocent but crafty little Polly, acts with great assurance and in addition has a bright soprano voice that soars in this theatre.

This is a charming production, Regent’s Park is the loveliest of settings, and The Beggar’s Opera is a witty, sometimes neglected work, the perfect summer’s evening out.

The Beggar’s Opera until 23 July 2011. Book tickets

Bookmark and Share:

Comments

Leave a comment.
You can follow any comments on this entry through the RSS feed.
  1. Paperz says:

    £100 for two tickets! I better get my bowl…

  2. An absolutely fantastic cast and a brilliant opera. Well worth seeing it while you can!

Leave a Reply