A marvelous bull dog named
Romeo playing Queen Victoria nearly steals the show!
Martha Clarke's direction and
choreography in “ The Threepenny Opera”
is a blending of sensuality, clarity and charisma. This production of the 1928
classic, written by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill with an English Adaptation by
Marc Blitzstein, is dark and foreboding (spare Set with doorways by Robert
Israel, smoky Lighting by Christopher Akerlind) with sparks of ironic humor
that light up the black holes. What I like best about this present production
is that the orchestra, which is situated in the back of the stage, does not
overwhelm the singers and their songs. There are complaints by fellow critics
that the production is not gritty enough; but with its touches of nudity and skullduggery,
it certainly gives off an edgy aura.
The cast is superb, costumed
by Donna Zakowska. F. Murray Abraham and
Mary Beth Peil, actor’s actors, are perfect as Mr. and Mrs. Peachums, who run a
business training pickpockets, thieves, and scoundrels. There's an amusing
scene where they demonstrate their techniques to get ready for the Queen's
Coronation. This couple is outraged when their darling daughter, Polly, the
lovely Laura Osnes, who possesses a silvery voice, runs off with the biggest
crook of all, Macheath. Michael Park is imposing, and boasts a powerful voice
in the role as Mack, the Knife.
While Mack is romancing and
pretending to marry Polly, and lands in jail, he is placating his wife, the
pregnant Lucy Brown, played by Lilli Cooper. Delivering the number “Pirate
Jenny,” Sally Murphy strikes the right pose as a wrecked human being.
The score is so strong and
arouses so much emotion that it points up the weaknesses in the new musicals we
are seeing today. “The Threepenny
Opera” at the Atlantic Theater Company, West Street.