Featured Post

Christmas Mysteries: A Sherlock Carol @MaryleboneTHLDN

A mash-up of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol and Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes would seem an unlikely pairing. Yet it provides a surprisingly fun Christmas-themed adventure. These two Victorian tales (albeit separated by about 40 years) provide the basis for an inspired adventure at Christmastime that just also happens to turn out to be a murder mystery as well. With lavish costumes, a few spooky set pieces and some good old-fashioned stage trickery with lights and a lot of smoke machines, it is hard to resist. It returns to the Marylebone Theatre for Christmas after a run there last year.  The premise is that after Holmes sees off the criminal mastermind Professor Moriarty, he is left adrift in London. People thought he was dead, and he might as well be. Disinterested in the misdeeds of other Londoners, Holmes has even given up on his friend Dr Watson. It's almost as if he has become a Scrooge. Or half a Scrooge, moping about shouting, "bah" in respon

Opera last look: Fidelio

I had reservations about catching the final night of Fidelio at the Royal Opera. The bad notices for this production (although not for the performances) had lowered my expectations, but in fact there is much to enjoy about this work, and no doubt explains why it is a favourite among some people.

It is easy to understand why it is still performed. The leading lady gets to disguise herself as a boy, fend off the love interest of a woman, rescue her husband and inspire a minor revolution. All during this there are some very interesting arias to sing, and the second half things get particularly dramatic. It is a rather inspiring work with a strong central character.

Nina Stemme in the lead role was also strong and believable. She spoke on an earlier Royal Opera podcast about the role and she gives the piece a solid foundation. She also looks perfect for the role of a woman who disguises herself as a boy (and she is helped by some rather sensible trousers, jacket and cap)...

At times amongst all this political intrigue and outrage, it seems odd that there is such pretty music and magical choruses. If the music and the drama don't seem to gel, it is an interesting curiosity nevertheless.

The staging could have been much simpler and works better in the second half when things are less complicated. All told, a shame there were empty seats for its final night. Perhaps future productions should be just concert versions as things would no doubt work as well (and possibly be cheaper to mount)...

Popular posts from this blog

Opera and full frontal nudity: Rigoletto

Fantasies: Afterglow @Swkplay

Play ball: Damn Yankees @LandorTheatre