THEATRE REVIEW: Three Penny Opera ★★★★
Three Penny Opera
National Theatre, London
Saturday 2nd July 2016
Bright, Bold, and Beautifully engaging would be how I would describe the most part of this estranged and manic Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill production of ‘Three Penny Opera’, adapted for the Olivier Stage at the National Theatre by Simon Stephens. I express ‘most part’ quite strongly is well, as this production is executed with immense passion and enthusiasm from all involved throughout the whole 2hr 20 minutes on stage, but I do believe that the creativity that runs so strong suddenly stumbles in the last 10 minutes as the action comes to a close on stage.
I should truly exaggerate also that I fell in love with production right from the get go and minutes in, as the background of London and the residents lives are depicted though a sequence that is genuinely funny and fully grips you in a way that most productions can't. I always admire the use of the revolving stage that The National have is well, and the amount of time and effort it must take not only the actors, but also the creative minds behind the scenes that have to devise a way of making this unique feature to the theatre feel fitting to the piece and using it to it's full potential, which is what I really admired about Three Penny Opera.
The performances from the whole cast were top quality and engaged me into this frantic world that was unravelling before my eyes, but also the brass of the unhinged musical aspect was mesmerising and atmospheric, and really suited this unique production. Rory Kinnear was an absolute delight as Macheath, a character I'm personally familiar with following the Kneehigh production of Dead Dog in a Suitcase late last year. He oozes charisma and is so versatile in the way he portrays all the characters he plays, from serious to comedic, which both happens in this production within seconds.
I like to draw upon chemistry between the cast quite a lot through these reviews, and this came again with no exception, especially between Rosalie Craig (Polly Peachum) and Debbie Kurup (Lucy Brown). Both of these actresses expressed such hatred towards each other in their characters, especially during the second act, with a real catfight through the medium of Verbal and hardly physical. It was electrifying and hilarious, as well as so far drawn into the sequence and musical song that I almost forgot that I was watching a production on stage.
Overall, despite the final moments of this production, The Three Penny Opera is engaging, enthralling, and a perfect example of an innovative adaption from one of the world's most renowned playwrights brought to life so brilliantly in this modern age on stage for an audience of all ages to sit back and get transported to this electrifying world.