The Threepenny Opera
Olivier Theatre, NT, May 19,2016
Let’s get this straight, I REALLY don’t like musicals. But this is the NT and this is Rufus Norris and this is Rory Kinnear — How can I not see this?
The other thing I need to get straight is the only thing I know about Mack the Knife is a version of the song recorded in 1956 by Louis Armstrong that I hadnt really listened to properly if I’m honest…
Rory is fabulous, as is the whole cast. He does a fantasic job of portraying Mack, keeping the audience on side even when we find out he pimped out his girlfriend and tried to abort their child… we’re still rooting for Mack.
The concept for this version of the Beggar’s Opera — a little bit quirky, a little bit Punch and Judy, a little bit Eastend music hall — is a good one. This being the second preview (apparently the first preview was also the first dress rehearsal) the staging was still a little loose and needs tightening — what rips and what doesn't, what should fall over and what shouldn’t. All easily fixable. I found the second half easier than the first — the performances also seemed tighter.
Simon Stephen’s has done a sterling job bringing this into the 21st century although it won’t be for everyone — that much swearing and baudiness rarely is. My beef was that I couldn’t hear all of it. Some of the hilarity of the rudeness got lost in the singing. Not cool and often my beef with stuff with musical numbers…
3/5 tighten up and Mack really could be back in town