The Threepenny Opera
When: February 5-14, 7:30 p.m., matinee Thursday, February 12 at 12:30 p.m. (no show February 8)
Where: Timms Centre for the Arts (87 Avenue and 112 Street)
Written by: Bertold Brecht
Directed by: Brian Deedrick
Who: Hunter Cardinal, Maxwell Theodore Lebeuf, Bobbi Godard, Kabriel Lilly
How much: $11 for students at the Timms Centre Box Office
With all of life’s schedules, deadlines, stress and pressure, sometimes one simply needs to turn to comedy to let lose and relax. They say laughter in the best medicine, so let’s call The Threepenny Opera a holistic approach to health. Fans of dark comedy will love the grimy setting and sinister characters, while patrons of the arts will appreciate the depth of talent held by the cast. The Threepenny Opera was a treat to attend.
Love, crime, punishment and retribution, The Threepenny Opera has it all in spades, and puts it all on display in a glorious fashion. Beggars and crooks go head-to-head to thwart the marriage of a well-meaning girl to a criminal mastermind. Set among the seedy underbelly of London, England, the audience is treated to an all-access pass to view the lives of thieves, lovers, and not-so-innocent bystanders as they fight to survive among the filth.
A play would be nothing without its actors and actresses, and The Threepenny Opera becomes much greater than the sum of its parts thank to the BFA Class of 2015. Whether it was the hilarious accent work and fabulous vocals of Bobbi Godard as Mrs. Peachum, or the darkly vaudevillian performance of the Street Singers by Natalie Davidson and Zvonimir Rac, the acting in The Threepenny Opera is phenomenal. A special mention goes out to the sinister portrayal of Mack The Knife by Hunter Cardinal, who brought to life a character that’s simultaneously loveable and horrifically amoral; all while looking strikingly similar to The Artist Formerly Known as Prince.
With laughs from start to finish, The Threepenny Opera executes operatic comedy in its highest form. Physical humour that borders on slapstick at times provides constant entertainment, and the jokes and innuendos on top of it are just the icing on the cake. The delivery of this type of comedy is artful, and the cast does an amazing job in creating an atmosphere that’s comically grim.
Showcasing the talent of each cast member, the songs in The Threepenny Opera are far from easy. The “Jealousy Duet” sung by Kabriel Lilly and Morgan Yamada stands out as one of the most impressive and engaging songs of the performance.
Going hand-in-hand with the vocal talent of the cast, the musical talent of the supporting band was incredible. Situated on stage, and wearing full costume, the band was an instrumental part of the performance, creating a perfectly dark and sadistic score for the show.
Arguably the most notorious aspect of The Threepenny Opera is its use of fourth-wall breaks, in which the characters leave the realm of the play and address the audience directly. This technique of self-awareness is a major aspect of the appeal this production holds. It brings in an entirely new dimension of comedy to be toyed with by the performers. These moments of dialogue directed at the audience add a much more intimate feel to the performance, letting the audience feel, if only for a moment, that they are experiencing the world as the characters do.
It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that The Threepenny Opera truly has it all. A hilarious plot filled with twists and turns, an incredibly talented cast of eager performers, and the perfect music to accompany all the insanity. Dark and grim as this production may be, the audience members will most certainly leave it smiling with enjoyment.