Set in the not too distant future and under seemingly disastrous political circumstances – The Threepenny Opera is the story of Polly Peachum, getting married to crooked murderer, “Mack The Knife” – much to her parent’s disapproval. It’s a battle of crooks vs crooks, set in a world full of corruption not too different to our own.
It’s a clever, modern mockery and it will have you laughing throughout.
Opening the show is the incomparable Eric Potts, as Jonathan Peachum – hilariously introducing his begging operation. A business that he has made quite lucrative. Along with his wife Celia (played hilariously, with supreme sarcasm and wit by Sue Devaney) they must get their daughter back even if that means incarcerating her new husband.
It must be said that the Octagon Theatre team have outdone themselves with the most incredible transformation of the theatre, stunning design by James Cotterill and his team including Set Builder, John Preston. A staggering and impressive stage has been produced – authentic rock musical style done to meticulous detail, fully equipped with scrolling text display and a balcony for these talented actor/musicians to accompany themselves.
Anna Wheatley (playing Polly Peachum) and Ruby Ablett (playing Lucy Brown) are Mac’s love interests and make for an entertaining second act as Mac (played convincingly by David Birrell) twists and turns in an attempt to save himself.
A strong cast is supported by the “ALRA student company” who step up and make scenes very busy and convincing.
The play itself is unusual and a good choice for the theatre. The music is nicely written but forgettable, albeit performed extremely well. The play is 2 hours of solid entertainment but although entertaining, as a script it may have dashed in a few too many directions to form a true audience connection to either character or plot.
The production suggests that it has changed the ending to one that they feel better reflects the most likely outcome for a crook like Macheath, which will send a thought-provoking chill down your spine.
This is a cool, cool musical to tick off your bucket list. Especially this rocky version in Bolton.
The Threepenny Opera plays Octagon, Bolton until Saturday 3rd November. For more information and to buy tickets click here..