Theatre: The Beggar's Opera

Thankfully it was a clear night on Wednesday to see this new production of The Beggar's Opera at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre. It is a smart looking production with a great cast and music performed by The City Waites. But although authentic, the sum of it feels more like an embalming of a great work than a ripping night out.

The piece, written by John Gay in 1728 is no doubt quite a satire for its time. It makes you wonder where are all the rude and offensive pieces covering our times... Perhaps things are a little more nuanced nowadays... But there is not much of a story and the petty criminals and prostitutes become quickly repetitive.

The production does try to perk things up by flashing loads of flesh. This includes David Caves who as Macheath seemed to keep losing his shirt. He is quite fit with his ripped abs and great set of guns. At one point you could be forgiven that the ladies falling over him were tweaking his nipples. Even with these distractions he gives a rather commanding performance. The ladies also have a fair share of legs bared, dry-humping and perhaps even the occasional glimpse of snatch. In fact at one point, sitting where I was, my line of sight went straight up Janet Fullerlove's legs...

Sexual energy aside, there is also some great fight sequences between the men and the women. Beverly Rudd's appearance in the second half (and her subsequent cat fight) is a highlight. But rather than stick around until the very end I decided to call it an earlier night, leaving a 9.45.

Of course a trip to Regent's Park Open Air Theatre is always very civilised and there is more than just the show to enjoy. There is the barbecue on the lawn beforehand, the sensible drinks and death by dessert. You can even bring a picnic. It is all very smart. Unless of course it rains and you have to wear plastic covers that make you feel like you have been sent to the dry cleaners. And dress warmly even if there is a heatwave as it always feels like winter in the park as the sun goes down...

Half way through Regents Park (mp3)

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