Fascism, fun and fury: Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Dario Fo

Before the glitzy, transient landscape of Fake News, we had the sinister reign of “alternative facts.” Dario Fo’s sardonic, wisecracking black farce, performed at the Sewell Barn Theatre in Gavin Richards’ fast-paced, swearword-strewn English adaptation (as approved by Fo himself) finds three Italian policemen frantically trying to get their story right after an anarchist they…

Desperate to live the truth: An Ideal Husband, Oscar Wilde

It is a strange and fascinating inversion of life by art that, as Oscar Wilde’s own life unravelled towards its final, dark ruin, his dramas became ever lighter and funnier. An Ideal Husband is only capped by The Importance of Being Earnest for glittering wit, engaging humour, and a brilliantly twisting plot which holds our…

Melodic, comic, colonial: Franz von Suppé’s A Trip to Africa

A sense of real excitement surrounded the revival (and UK premiere) of Franz von Suppé’s A Trip to Africa at the Maddermarket Theatre, the culmination of several years of work by conductor Dario Salvi, who found and meticulously researched and restored the score and libretto with his wife Hannah after a 94-year performance hiatus. There…

Kill or be killed: Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, ETO

English Touring Opera gives Gluck’s reformist masterpiece a suitably blood-spattered outing in a production which keeps the opera in touch with its classical roots. Gluck’s reform agenda stands out proudly: his clear, elegant score can sound almost aggressively simple at times, while his streamlined structure almost pushes us out through aria and recitative into the continuous…

A Tale of Two Tannhäusers: Theater Freiburg at Norwich

Theater Freiburg don’t usually tour, so this journey to the Norwich Theatre Royal is itself a pilgrimage of a kind. The camaraderie and team spirit stirred up by the unusual challenge of moving such an enormous company, sets and all, to perform two great Wagner epics in one week (Parsifal preceded Tannhäuser) in a different…