Sunday, 4 March 2012

The Marriage of Figaro @ The Lyceum

I know that it isn't cool, and it betrays my staunch West Coast isolationism, but I am becoming fond of the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. It does have a reputation for presenting plays that people might have heard of, which is anathema to my Live Art pretentions: there have been Shakespeares and Oscar Wildes on the programme in the last couple of years. And yet... they seem to be willing to back risky new work, support a young company and update classics relevantly. I guess I'd classify them as "healthy".

Delving into my rucksack, I just found a press release for their Marriage of Figaro. Now that I getting on and losing my hair (and the pony-tail only emphasises the bald patch), I am increasingly fascinated by opera. The grand scale of the passions, the swell of the aria, the high production values and the technical skill...

This is the play, though: and it has been given an up-date by Glasgow author DC Jackson, who kicks it from the world of the French aristocracy into the contemporary world of high finance. It's a sweet touch: Beaumarchais' original poked fun at the decadent fools who annoyed their nation so much that they ended up on the wrong end of a revolution. Here's hoping the second time's a charm...

Jackson is best known for his sardonic My Romantic History, a really dark comment on relationships, or the family life trilogy of The WallThe Ducky and The Chooky Brae. His skill is using vernacular language to get at the big ideas beneath the mundane. That, and his bawdy sense of humour. 

Relocating the action to bars, and with sexual politics on the boardroom table, Jackson's vision chimes with director Mark Thomson's. "Power and sex have always been a rich mine  for drama both in tragedy and comedy," he says. "The plotting joy of the original Beaumarchais has been joyfully transposed by DC Jackson into today’s post merger world of finance where it’s the bankers and not the aristocrats who abuse power as love, lust and money contend for the most important currency in the universe.”

Plus, it has Mark Prendergast in it, who seems to be able to do anything from pantomime to tragedy. 

Performances: 23 March – 14 April 2012
Evenings: Tuesday – Saturday at 7.45pm  
Matinees: at 2.30pm                                                                                                                         
Box Office: 0131 248 4848 

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