Is it possible to take the overblown art form that is opera and present it stripped back and (whisper it) in ENGLISH??!!
The Time Zone Theatre Company’s production of Orpheus and Eurydice at the Bridewell Theatre shows not only is it possible, it is imperative!
The classic Gluck opera of the heart broken Orpheus descending to Hades to bring back his wife Eurydice, is here presented as a modern fairy tale in English with a musical arrangement for piano, flute, violin and harp. The staging is minimal ensuring the whole focus is on the performers.
Lawrence Olsworth-Peter is stunning as Orpheus; his voice, just beautiful. Caroline Kennedy plays a haunting Eurydice, while Lizzie Holmes is a sprite like Amor.
The ensemble of 5 blend their voices beautifully and provide a delightful supporting chorus. The musicians are magnificent and the score is luscious despite just the four instruments. The one slight negative is that with the musicians positioned at the front of the stage, the music at times overwhelms the voices, particularly at the more emotional, gentle moments.
Watching an opera delivered in English is quite a disconcerting affair, so intrinsic is the Italian language to the drama of the art form, but after the initial jolt of realising that all the words are understandable, the experience was wonderful.
This was the last night of this beautiful piece, but The Bridewell Theatre is hosting an Opera in the City Festival until the 8th September. The Time Zone Theatre is presenting Faust, Alberta from the 3rd to 8th and if it is a fraction as good as Orpheus and Eurydice it will be well worth seeing.
Reviewed by Lara Southworth