KISS ME, FIGARO!
by John Ramster
Riverside Studios (Studio 3) Crisp Road Hammersmith W6 9RL To 2 March.
Tue–Sat 7.30pm Mat Sat 3pm & Sun 5pm.
TICKETS:0208 237 1111
Review: William Russell 18 February.
then Tour to 23 March 2014.
Runs 2hr 20min One interval.
Musical Merriment from the Merry Opera Company.
John Ramster has come up with a glorious concoction of arias and occasional songs from the shows for this tale of a diva scorned, as sopranos in operas so often are, by a tenor who is a bit of a cad, as they too so often are. It owes an obvious debt to Kiss Me Kate, but what happens in a small touring opera company after the leading tenor falls under a bus, or some such thing, is a delight in its own right.
The impresario announces the show cannot go on when from the audience comes a cry –“I can sing Rudolfo.” It is tenor Joe Morgan, who abandoned soprano Daisy Brown at the altar – her tiny hand is certainly frozen in what ensues – who has returned to the company, having had a change of heart and wanting his Daisy back. So the show goes on.
Add that Rachel, Daisy’s understudy, is in hot pursuit of Joe, George de Polignac, the baritone, is romancing Tim, the second tenor, and Jacqueline, the contralto, is the ex-wife of the company’s crazed impresario and director, Marcus Sherwood, and you have a right old mix.
All sorts of complications ensue to gems from operas by Puccini, Handel, Mozart and Tchaikovsky, and the works of Irving Berlin, until true love triumphs.
It is a bit like listening to Classic FM mixed with music from the musicals. The singing is very good, the singers can all act, even those in the chorus – sorry, the ensemble, in a company this size, someone points out, you do not have a chorus.
Daisy Brown, who plays Daisy Brown, is a superbly chilly note-perfect diva, Joe Morgan who plays Joe Morgan, an operatic Tom Jones, is a wonderful cad from the valleys, and Matthew Quirk, a kind of desiccated Margaret Rutherford with a touch of the Alistair Sims, is very funny as Marcus Sherwood, the company’s daft director, as is Kristin Finnigan as Jacqueline, his long suffering ex-wife.
The whole thing under Ramster’s direction fizzes from start to finish and Stephen Hose at the grand piano provides impeccable support.
Joe Morgan: Joe Morgan.
Daisy Brown: Daisy Brown.
Jacqueline Sherwood: Kristin Finnigan.
Marcus Sherwood: Matthew Quirk.
George de Polignac: James Harrison.
Rachel Harmon: Jenny Stafford.
Una Bryant: Felicity Buckland.
Tim Hicks: Tom Lowe.
Tim Connor: Dario Dugandzic.
Sidney Austin: Stephen Hose.
Understudy Marcus Sherwood: Daniel Roddick.
Director: John Ramster.
Designer: Louis Carver.
Lighting: Derek Carlyle-Hogan.
Musical Arranger/Director: Stephen Hose.
Choreographer: Carole Todd.
Costume: Michelle Bradbury.