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           King’s Head Theatre, N1, until 28 Oct 2017

Becca Marriott is superb in the title role



Puccini’s opera is transported from 1800 Rome to 1944 occupied Paris in this evocative production. The twists and turns of the Italian libretto is now rendered in English by Becca Marriott and Adam Spreadbury-Maher allowing the new milieu of the opera to shine through.  


Whilst the orchestra is pared down to just three instruments, piano, cello and clarinet with four opera singers, the set is expanded.  The thrust stage is augmented with the use of the corridors, putting the audience inside the set.  This intimacy with the audience is one of King’s Head trademarks and works wonders in this production allowing all the gorgeous angles of Opera diva Tosca to be fully admired.  Becca Marriott is superb in the role, both musically and dramatically.  


After a slow start, the opera revs up a notch in the second act with Michael Georgiou as Scarpia, every inch the vile Gestapo Officer.  Sitting at his desk with a twin-headed eagle on the wall, a lighting effect (by Jessica Hung Han Yun) brings drama and emotional intensity to the frieze frame, as though we are looking at a Carravagio.


The costume design by Becky-Dee Trevenen overall works well, the only downside being the strangely boyish costume for Cavaradain.  Played by Roger Paterson with nuanced gentleness, it makes it harder for him to appear a love match for Tosca.


For anyone who cannot get enough of King’s Head Opera, Spreadbury-Maher’s production of La Boheme is transferring to Trafalgar Studios in the West End 6 December.  


Photography by Nick Rutter


Editor’s Note: Tosca is top pick in LPT Magazine.  Read our interview with Adam Spreadbury-Maher here 


TOSCA is at King’s Head Theatre until 28th October 2017

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Reviewer Heather Jeffery is editor of London Pub Theatres magazine (email for press releases:  

She was playwright and Artistic Director of Changing Spaces Theatre.  Her credits include productions at Drayton Arms Theatre (Kensington), Old Red Lion Theatre (Islington), VAULT festival (Waterloo), St Paul’s Church (Covent Garden), Cockpit Theatre (Marylebone) and Midlands Arts Centre (Birmingham)





Tosca Scarpia stars 4