Raw, edgy, taunting & not to be missed

Went to see Michael Hurst’s production of The Threepenny Opera at the Maidment last evening. Think Dickens meets Mean Streets staged as Weimar-era cabaret, then add some anti-capitalist street theatre.

Vital, startling at times, relentlessly edgy, mordant, taunting, this is an original and exciting take on Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s masterpiece. Be warned: it’s not one of the “softened” versions. The set is stripped back and the backstage is onstage. The singing is amplified to the point where it assaults the senses. It’s raw.

The potent, cynical, anti-capitalist propaganda won’t be to everybodies’ tastes, either. The kiwiblog right are advised to stay well away. Eerily, writing 80 years ago, Brecht captures the essence of the neo-liberal’s lack of soul with such lines as “It’s the selfishness… that keeps a man alive” and “Commerce is the new religion… kill your neighbour to survive.”

There are great performances. Amanda Billing, memorable in The Country Wife, shows real talent as a singer (apparently she also stars in Shortland Street). The whole Peacham family are so convincing they add an element of soap opera to the mix. Jennifer Ward-Lealand is stunning as ever. Roy Snow as Macheath is a smooth womaniser, but lacks real menace.

For those unfamiliar with the plot: King of the underclass Mr Peacham and his wife are appalled when their only daughter runs off with no less than the notorious gangster Captain Macheath a.k.a. Mack the Knife. Their attempts at revenge are complicated by the Macheath’s close friendship with police chief Tiger Brown, despite Macheath’s original love Jenny betraying him twice.

On until 21 June. Phone: 09 308 2383 for tickets.

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2 Responses to “Raw, edgy, taunting & not to be missed”

  1. Sconehead Says:

    ‘Think Dickens meets Mean Streets staged as Weimar-era cabaret, then add some anti-capitalist street theatre.’

    I don’t need to go to the theatre for this – I get enough of it at home. (after Peter Cook)
    [Scone, And “raw, edgy, taunting & not to be missed”?]

  2. Sconehead Says:

    Yes, indeed. All that.

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