Kath Gill directs a huge cast in this popular ballad opera in three acts written by John Gay
The Beggar’s Opera, by John Gay, is a ballad opera. Ballad operas hit their height of popularity during the early 18th century, in England. The form is a combination of an opera and satirical play, and while it followed many of the conventions of opera, this style does not include a recitative. The Beggar’s Opera is one of the best examples of this style, with music inspired by and pulled from broadsheet ballads, church hymns, opera arias, and even folk songs. John Gay wrote The Beggar’s Opera in 1728 alongside Johann Christoph Pepusch, who arranged the music.
Beggar - Clive Lumbers
Mrs. Peachum - Tish Marshal
Polly Peachum - Libby Beck
Ben Budge - Steve Stott
Nimming Ned - John Trett
Drawer - Geoff Brown
Dolly Trull - Margot Connor
Luckey Props - Tish Marshall
Betty Doxy - Lou Jackson
Suky Tawdry - Linden Porter
Jailers - Andrew MacTavish and Mike Roscoe
Lucy Lockit - Jane Steynour
Mr. Peachum - Bob Connor
Filch - Steve Stott
MacHeath - Dave Bowden
Mat of the Mint - Frank Brooks
Jemmy Twitchen - Vic Berry
Mrs. Coaxer - Tracy Perkins
Mrs. Vixen - Jill Candell
Jenny Diver - Eve Berry
Mrs. Slammekin - Georgie Brooks
Molly Brazen - Alison Edgley
Lockit - Nigel Bacon
Bucks Free Press Review by Archie Wilson
The Beggars Opera is a send-up of the 18th century fashion for Italian Grand Opera and a satire on the then Prime Minister Sir Robert Walpole and his government.
It takes a great number of popular songs of the time and changes the words to suit the tale of highwaymen, thieves and whores - mirroring the corrupt society of the time.
The criminal fence and informer Peachum learns that his daughter Polly is in love with the notorious highwayman MacHeath and devises a plan to have him imprisoned.
While in his prison cell, MacHeath is torn between Polly and the jailer's daughter Lucy, who promises to help him escape.
Lane End Players handled this piece well, with Bob Connor as Mr Peachum and Libby Beck as Polly filling their roles to perfection.
Operas performed by local groups are often let down by the quality of he singing. This was certainly not the case here, the quality was extremely high.
The cameo performance of Nigel Bacon as Lockit the jailer was quite outstanding.
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