King’s Head Theatre and Irrational Theatre have put on a trio of rare comedic gems with the same three great cast members who each have a chance to shine.
It began with John Whittaker’s one-act opera The Proposal based on a short play by Anton Chekhov. It is about Ivan Vassilevitch Lomov going to the house of Stepan Stepanovitch Chubukov to ask for his daughter, Natalya Stepanovna Chukukov’s hand in marriage. The problem is that Natalya and Ivan keep fighting over and over again, and Ivan has a bad disposition and keeps getting ill. This is a great first opera to get the audience in to it; it’s a bit slow to start but once it gets going it’s funny and leaves you with a smile on your face. A great farce. Andrew Sparling as Stepan is the highlight of this one.
Opera 2 is the shortest opera in the world, a whole 3 minutes and 34 seconds, Peter Reynolds’ Sands of Time, about a couple having a fight whilst making breakfast. I really enjoyed this, it’s short, sweet and funny.
Le 66 is a moral tale from Offenbach about not letting money change you (a lotto win is involved). My favourite of the night, it has great music and is wonderfully slapstick (the dancing and the ‘Allo ‘Allo style German accents) whilst also making a good point which is as necessary now as it was when it was first written. Lucy Elston as Grittly and Laurence Panter as Franz were fantastic, Elston in particular has impressive control.
I’m really glad that Irrational Theatre decided to put on this triptych of rare comic operas, each is so different and funny with a trio of talented performers, wonderful production design and a lovely atmosphere, well worth seeing as the chance of seeing all three again is pretty slim, especially with such good performers.