Mrs. Peachum (centre: Arielle Permack) and a crowd of beggars, prostitutes and the down-and-out show the Chief of Police (Aidan Correia) the error of his ways. Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s musical satire, The Threepenny Opera, runs at the Phoenix Theatre at UVic until November 21.

Students shine in University of Victoria’s Phoenix Theatre’s Three Penny Opera

UVic students take a stab at Mack The Knife

UVic’s Phoenix Theatre takes on the Three Penny Opera, a loose adaptation of the 18th-century Beggar’s Opera, by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill.

In the musical play, Brecht takes aim at the traditional bourgeoisie, revealing a society where law is fickle, money corrupts and crime pays.

In this adaptation, director Brian Richmond (Blue Bridge Theatre) has set the stage for 2028 under the premise of a collapsed world economy.

“There’s a lot of embedded anger, what’s different between now and those times is we have managed to avert cataclysmic crisis,” Richmond said in an interview with the Oak Bay News.

The musical saga follows the villainous but irresistible MacHeath, or, Mack the Knife (Lindsay Robinson), as he marries the impressionable and innocent Polly Peacham (Pascal Lamothe-Kipnes) – much to the displeasure of her parents – while continuing his illicit relationship with his mistress, Lucy Brown (Haley Garnett).

As is typical with a Phoenix production, the cast is large – 20, including professional actor Shauna Baird, and excellent seven piece band led by music director Hank Pine. With choreography by founder of the Canadian College of Performing Arts’ Jacques Lemay, this student cast hit the boards with some serious professional support – which is a good thing, because the show runs over three hours plus two intermissions.

On opening night, the cast, in general, began a bit cold but as the full house responded with generous applause, the company seemed to relax into their performances. The musical numbers were well done with Robinson and Lamothe-Kipnes each warming up and becoming more engaging with each song. Only Garnett seemed immediately at ease on the stage and entered as a refreshing breath of air in Act II.

While Baird’s performance as Mr. Peachum, leader of a gang of beggars, is solid I would have preferred to see a student showcased in the role.

The star of this show is costume designer Jacqueline Gilchrist. A fourth-year design student, this was her first time designing for the main stage and she and her team knocked it out of the park.

The costumes were black and white and red all over while making liberal use of plastic, netting, duct tape and cardboard – all culminating with an appearance by the Queen (Nathan Patterson), which was a highlight of my theatre-going season so far.

Lyrics and language in the show are not for the faint of heart but those willing to withstand some edgy verbiage will be rewarded with a fast-paced play full of wry-wit and commendable performances, not only from the leads, but from the ensemble members who each take on a persona and appear to have some fun with their characters. Standouts among them include Nicholas Guerreiro (Matt) and Shea O’Connor (Ned).

The Three Penny Opera continues at UVic’s Phoenix Theatre to Nov. 21.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Mathieu Poirier: Excitement builds for Victoria Beer Week

Tickets for March 6-14 celebration of all things crafty on sale now

The Music of Cream touring band more than a tribute act

Ginger Baker’s son Kofi, Clapton’s nephew Will joined by rock stalwarts for 50th anniversary tour

Actors asked to find a spirituality for new Belfry production

Playwright/director Tara Beagan’s The Ministry of Grace tells Indigenous tale of challenge, love

PERFECTLY POTABLE: Bold reds that make you stand up and take notice

Monday wine columnist Robert Moyes weighs in on a trio of fine reds and a yummy late harvest white

Powerful Russian folk trio makes triumphant return to city

Trio Voronezh back on Victoria stage for first time since appearing at Coupe Mondiale in 2013

VIDEO: Nickelback gears up for nostalgia tour

Canadian band joins Stone Temple Pilots for a summer tour that includes just one stop in Canada

Winners announced for inaugural Victoria Arts Council/Monday poetry contest

More than 100 entries received in five categories

Canadian polar bears’ ‘ingenious’ survival seen in BBC Earth series

Film crews also go to Tofino to watch black bears snap up crabs under massive boulders

Spring author’s reading series kicks off early in Sidney

Sidney and Peninsula Literary Society hosting Yasuko Thanh and Carla Funk for Feb. 7 event

The winners of London Drugs’ 2019 Amateur Photographer of the Year contest are…

After more than 26,000 entries, the winners have been selected across Western Canada.

‘How to Train Your Dragon’ filmmaker Dean DeBlois among Canadian Oscar nominees

Multiple Oscar-nominated Canadian talents on Academy Award hopefuls list

Most Read