The Old Meeting House, Claxton
Gay's tale of upside morality in 18th- century London grabbed Weill and Brecht as a good way of making their audience think.
So they gave it a cabaret score and laced it with all those epic touches which break the illusion and renamed it The Threepenny Opera (because paupers can dream, but they can't pay for it!).
And in Richard White's production in the unique and intimate setting of the Old Meeting House in Claxton, Norfolk's Glyndebourne for the cognoscenti, the piece packed the kind of punch that showed why this story is always such a box-office smash.
There's everything here: handsome villains, jealous whores, towering mad scenes and even a near tragedy.
And there is also the chance for performers to sink their teeth into some really good roles.
Joanna Webster as the gangster's wife exuded just the right mix of innocence and coarseness, while her rival Lucy (Suzanne Robertson) was suitably vicious and neurotic, her murderous emotions were truly to die for.
And most of all, I felt by the end that this might have been the first time I had seen The Threepenny Opera as it was originally intended to be performed: no pretension, so close you could touch it and yes, even inspiring enough to make you want to go out and fight for a better world.
27 June 2008