an opera by Llywelyn ap Myrddin.
Riverside Studios Crisp Road Hammersmith W6 9RL To 16 August 2013.
Runs 45min No Interval.
Review: William Russell 15 August.
A better meal than an alarm clock.
Not all the fun of the fair is on at the Fringe in Edinburgh. In Hammersmith the Tete a Tete Opera Festival is going big guns and this delightful operatic squib from Age of Anxiety is one of the highlights.
Based on a story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, it started life at Guildhall School, where it was composed for students to perform. Now, in a new production, the piece has surfaced in Hammersmith.
It tells what happens when Dr Philopovich and his colleague Semyon decide to display a crocodile, which belongs to somebody else, at a society soirée where their colleague Ivan is to deliver an address. Unfortunately, before the guests arrive Ivan and his bossy wife Elana turn up and things take a distinctly surrealistic turn. Ivan gets too close to the crocodile and ends up inside it, something his two friends desperately try to conceal from Elana, Franze, the crocodile’s owner, and the assorted guests.
After a slightly sticky start, when there seems to be a lot of sung speech, the score takes off in all sorts of unexpected and inventive directions, as does Alex Sutton’s production. Maybe there is a tad too much incense in the air, but the performances are spirited, and the joke does not outstay its welcome.
Kris Belligh as Philopovich and Leandros Taliotis as Semyon are very funny, Kristy Swift does a neat turn as the overbearing wife, and as the Crocodile Caroline Mathias is simply magnificent. A lifetime career in Peter Pan looms if she is not careful.
Dr Philip Philipovich: Kris Belligh.
Semyon: Leandros Taliotis.
Ivan: Graham Neal.
Elana: Kristy Swift.
Ignaty: Peter Corry.
Franz: James Soller.
Mutter: Jane Webster.
Maid: Christina Petrou.
Reporter: Alexander Beck.
Crocodile: Caroline Matthias.
Director/Choreographer: Alex Sutton.
Designer/Costume: Ben Gerlis.
Lighting: Christopher Nairne.
Music Director: John Murton.
Costume co-designer: Mike Leopold.
Puppet Designers: Roger and Julie Lade.