The Gate Arts Centre, Cardiff, Sat 9 May
It’s not often I voluntarily sit on church pews, but for Opera’r Ddraig’s rendition of The Beggar’s Opera, it was worth the numbness.
A birthing pool for some of Royal Welsh College’s talented students and graduates, Opera’r Ddraig performed an enjoyable and aptly timed opera/musical, which centres on the themes of duplicity and injustice.
The Beggar’s Opera was arguably the first ever musical when it was written in 1728. The Italian opera style was the flavour of the time and The Beggar’s Opera sought to make fun of this, as well as comment on social inequality; “But money, wife, is the true Fuller’s Earth for reputations, there is not a spot or a stain but what it can take out.”
There were fantastic performances from Kate Reynolds and Matthew Clark, a strong chorus and some noteworthy supporting roles. Roland Harrad and his Jack Sparrow inspired character had the audience and pews clattering in amusement from the very beginning. Andrew Irwin looked a tad shaky as he fondled the chorus until I realised he was only 19 – fair play boy, nerve wracking stuff. Lara-Clare Bourdeaux had the unenviable task of playing it straight while all around her were doing everything they could to make the audience laugh, how she maintained her composure is a mystery that must hide somewhere in professionalism. Special mention to the girl eating popcorn – nice one!
A great production and company that are well worth your time and money. For those who enjoy a bargain, it’s a good opportunity to catch some exceptional singers and actors before they start commanding the big money.
words NIA STRONG photos KIRSTEN MCTERNAN