‘Soprano Emma Walsh gives a world class performance in this expert new English version’
The real star of the show is Verdi’s music. The singers, along with the pianist, have lost none of the beauty and catchiness of the original score. Most notably, soprano Emma Walsh as Violetta gives a world class performance as her voice soars with emotional power. Musical director, Panaretos Kyriatzidis has done a remarkable job.
With an expert new English libretto by Becca Marriott and Helena Jackson LA TRAVIATA is brought bang into the twenty first century. Violetta is a pole dancer in a seedy night spot, where Sinclair brings his son Elijah for a lesson in sexuality. The resulting affair between his son and the pole dancer is not at all what he had in mind. Mostly following the original story, the ending takes a new turn. This is the master stroke, keeping the tragedy fresh and exquisitely painful.
The final character in the story is Flora, the proprietor of the club, wonderfully played by Grainne Gillis as a business woman, hard of heart. All the cast are well chosen, Alex Haigh as Elijah perfectly captures the self-consciousness of youth and passage into adulthood. The cast provide a constant frisson which sizzles around the silver streamers, mirrors and windows of the set. The central core made up of the pole itself cleverly provides a focal point in the room around which the action revolves.
All the usual elements that we have come to expect and love from opera at King’s Head Theatre are included. The surround set, interaction with the audience, the sense of humour and of course the intimacy afforded by such a cosy venue.
Mighty things happen at this venue, considering its recent Olivier Nomination for best new opera (2018) for La Boheme, and perhaps more plaudits await.
Box Office http://www.kingsheadtheatre.com/
Reviewer Heather Jeffery is founder and Editor of London Pub Theatres Magazine www.londonpubtheatre.com