Music: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Director: Michael Grandage
Revival Director: Ian Rutherford
Reviewer: Lu Greer
As the Marriage of Figaro opens with its classic, universally known overture, the curtain lifts on what appears to be a manor just outside of Seville, as any classic version of the opera would have. As the audience are introduced to Susanna and Figaro on the day of their wedding worrying about the advances of the Count on Susanna and plotting how to keep him away their clothes strike the audience as a little odd. Theyaren’tanything that out of the ordinary, and they don’t draw away from the couple setting the plot of the entire show, but they justaren’tquite in keeping with the time of the original. Upon the entry of the Count, however, it becomes clear from his handlebar moustache down to his painfully bright floral trousers that Michael Grandage’s production is set in the swinging sixties. Cue huge flares, bright fabrics and two extremely bizarre dance scenes.
Once the audience gets past the rather surprising fashion choices of the household, the stars of the show really begin the shine through. While both Susanna (Joélle Harvey) and Figaro (Guido Loconsolo) play the part of the young lovers troubled by outside forces wonderfully, it is the combination of John Moore and Layla Claire and the Count and Countess that really make this production work. Moore really sells the count as the sleazy, scheming master thoroughly confused by the trickery of the women in his life and refusing to know when he’s defeated. This next to Claire’s Countess as the long suffering spouse that finally decides to get her own back make the performance a real laugh out loud comedy.
It is also certainly worth mentioning the impressive talent of Ellie Laugharne, as Barbarina, as while she has one of the smaller rôles within the piece her voice is sublime and she plays her comic rôle perfectly. Never overshadowing the main players, she adds perfectly to the unfolding story.
The sets (Christopher Oram), which are absolutely vital to some of the intricacies of this story are as big and bold as the sixties prints, while still maintaining the dignity of an eighteen century manor. This is particularly obvious in the stunning final set of the garden scene as the impressive arches reach up into the rafters and the bold columns are used for one of the many eavesdropping scenes, as well as an obstacle for the bewildered Count to blunder into.
Taking a Mozart classic and mixing it with the sixties reallyshouldn’twork. But whenyou’vegot the Count embodying everything about the free-loving decade, and the comedy of the complex lives of the couples, it really does give the show an extra something special. This is defiantly a show for fans of Mozart or Glyndebourne and it’s fairly likely that it’s going to gain them a few new fans along the way.