Friday, 4 August 2017

A very tasty amuse bouche: Chabrier’s Une Education Manquée

Susanna Fairbairn, Christine Buras - Chabrier: Une Education Manquée - Pop-up Opera (Photo Robert Workman)
Susanna Fairbairn, Christine Buras - Chabrier: Une Education Manquée
Pop-up Opera (Photo Robert Workman)
Chabrier Une Education Manquée, Pop-Up Opera, William Cole, Isabelle Kettle; Grimeborn Festival at the Arcola Theatre
Reviewed by Anthony Evans on Aug 2 2017
Star rating: 3.5

Pop-up Opera's irreverent production pops up at Grimeborn

Grimeborn, the East London’s festival of opera at the Arcola Theatre, was hosting Pop-up Opera in a revival of it’s sold out production of the lively Une Education Manquée on Wednesday 2 August 2017. Christine Buras and Susanna Fairbairn played Helene and Gontran, the young bride and groom, with Oskar McCarthy the inebriate pedagogue Pausanias under the musical direction of William Cole, in a production directed by Isabelle Kettle.

Chabrier’s rarely performed operette  is little more than a whimsy – a 45 minute romp on the theme "boy + girl = ?". It tells the tale of newly wed teenagers struggling with the expectations of their wedding night. A thunderstorm, a nightgown en desordre seasoned by teenage hormones and viola – "try this at home".

Apart from it’s gentle wit, part of the charm of this bagatelle is the cheery score; a shame that William Cole’s vivacious playing just can’t provide the same ebullience as an orchestra. The occasional disfigurement of French aside Susanna Fairburn and Christine Buras were whimsical and charming as the lovers with Oskar McCarthy doing a nice comic turn in the buffo duet cataloguing his achievements in teaching. With this irrepressibly perky cast, Pop-up’s irreverent style and "horticultural references that may or may not be euphemistic" the evenings jollification tripped along nicely making for a very tasty amuse bouche.
Reviewed by Anthony Evans

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