The Threepenny Opera

Adelaide Festival

Her Majesty’s Theatre

7th March


Director Barry Kosky’s version on this work is certainly memorable, with a fabulous cast and an unusual set, this was a feast for the senses. But make no mistake, it is Kurt Weill’s music, along with Bertold Brecht’s words that make this work, and what great music it is.

As can be seen from the above, the set resembles a scaffold like structure in sections that move back and forth over the stage. The performers traverse the structure with great ease, although not when singing!

If there is a criticism, and there are few, there is a lack of definition as to where the action is taking place, there are several scenes where there is no visual or other clue. A number of scenes are self-explanatory, but several are not. Thus, to fully appreciate the performance it is recommended by this reviewer that you become very familiar with the synopsis prior to attending.

The other question relates to the sub-titles. Aside from a few technical problems, the main issue was the screens location. Being very much to either side of the stage, it was difficult to read the text and watch the wonderful performance. For those close to the front this must have been very difficult indeed.

But this is not to denigrate from the performances and the production as a whole, it is simply a joy to see. Gabriel Schneider as Macheath was outstanding, as was Laura Balzer, Kathrin Wehlisch, Julis Berger and Tilo Nest.

There was an unusual happening during the marriage scene, early in the performance, when an audience member sang Happy Birthday to a backstage asssistant!  This and some comic touches really added some respite from the otherwise fairly grim story.

This a an event not to be missed.

Michael Prescott

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