Exploring capitalist greed, mischief and beggary-business mayhem, OVO, the award-winning theatre production company, presents a riotous and rough reimagining of The ThreePenny Opera, Bertolt Brecht’s zany musical at The Cockpit this September. Maintaining Brecht’s spirit of experimentation, this ambitious modern update of theatre’s first musical defies theatrical convention, whilst aiming to shock, engage, mock and even disturb its audience.
St Albans-based OVO’s The ThreePenny Opera, supported by the Kurt Weill Foundation, mixes beautiful melodies with dark and unsettling themes, resisting the prettiness and neatness of musical theatre convention. The ThreePenny Opera explores the tension between the spectacle and shininess of musical theatre and the gritty, biting Marxist critique of social and economic injustice that Brecht intended.
This production is directed by OVO’s award-winning Artistic Director Adam Nichols and opera singer and Co-director Julia Mintzer (Welsh National Opera, Washington National Opera), with Lada Valešová (Royal Opera House, Opera Holland Park) completing the creative team as Conductor and Musical Director.
Jeremy Sams and Robert David MacDonald offer a sparky new translation of Brecht’s timeless political comment, with 13 actor-musicians playing a total of 21 instruments between them. The cast includes Mark Carlisle (The Crown, Netflix), Lee Drage (Chariots of Fire, Gielgud Theatre), Keith Lynch (Blue Lights, BBC), Carys McQueen (Cabaret at the Kit Kat Club) and Annette Yeo (The Great British Bake Off Musical).
Director Adam Nichols comments, While it was written in 1928, and set in Victorian London, we have imagined another world for our production: a factory for musicals, in which The Threepenny Opera is the dangerous, disruptive younger brother of more conventional, saccharine shows. This is the perfect time to go back to where musical theatre began and, with the cost-of-living crisis forcing ever more people to live on our city’s streets and celebrity culture dominating our daily discourse, we aim to show that Brecht and Weill’s biting satire and hummable tunes will never grow old.
Director of The Cockpit Dave Wybrow comments, The shows we create and produce are sometimes risky, often controversial, frequently left-field but always a conversation starter. The ThreePenny Opera ticks all four boxes and we’re delighted to begin our partnership with OVO with a brilliantly bonkers interpretation of this incredible show, which also builds on The Cockpit’s long track record of presenting bold and imaginative opera.
Prior to arriving at The Cockpit, The ThreePenny Opera will run at The Roman Theatre of St Albans and The Minack Theatre.
The ThreePenny Opera is at The Cockpit Theatre 21st September – 8th October.