Wednesday 4 October 2017

Second World War Tosca at the King's Head Theatre

Puccini: Tosca - Roger Paterson, Thomas Isherwood, Michael Georgiou, Becca Marriott  - King's Head Theatre (Photo Nick Rutter)
Puccini: Tosca - Roger Paterson, Thomas Isherwood, Michael Georgiou, Becca Marriott  - King's Head Theatre
(Photo Nick Rutter)
Puccini Tosca; Becca Marriott, Roger Paterson, Michael Georgiou, dir: Adam Spreadbury Maher, md: Panaretos Kyriatzidis; King's Head Theatre
Reviewed by Anthony Evans on Oct 2 2017 Star rating: 3.5
Puccini's classic re-imagined in 1940s Paris

Puccini: Tosca - Becca Marriott, Roger Paterson - King's Head Theatre (Photo Nick Rutter)
Becca Marriott, Roger Paterson
(Photo Nick Rutter)
Monday’s (2 October 2017) official opening of the third of the King’s Head Puccini trilogy was Becca Marriott and Adam Spreadbury-Maher’s adaptation of Tosca. 'The shabby little shocker' is re-located to Paris 1944 as the forces of liberation advance on the capital. 

Directed by Adam Spreadbury Maher, with designs by Becky-Dee Trevenen, Becca Marriott was Tosca with Roger Paterson (Cavaradain) and Michael Georgiou (Scarpia). Gamely, Thomas Isherwood doubled as Angelotti and Sciarrone renamed Jacob Cohen and Villaplane in this remodelling.

Tosca’s red blooded story of sex, religion and politics where the protagonists fates, irrevocably intertwined, hurtle towards their mutually assured destruction has an extraordinary musical and dramatic potency. I missed the expansive symphonic orchestrations but even with the limited resources of piano, cello and clarinet, I was surprised at how much of it’s thrilling visceral power remained.

But whilst the new libretto’s historical proximity lent an unsettling dramatic immediacy, too often it’s ungainly language was the source of unintended humour. Neither was I entirely convinced by Roger Paterson’s Cavaradin (as Cavaradossi becomes in this version), this love intoxicated puppy, was simply a naïve innocent swept up in the maelstrom and Michael Georgiou’s understated Scarpia was, in truth, no match for this Tosca. It was Becca Marriott’s fiery and vocally assured diva that carried the evening. Her own capriciousness drawing her into a world of turmoil she does not understand until it’s too late.
Reviewed by Anthony Evans

Puccini: Tosca
Monday 2 October 2017
King’s Head Theatre
Musical Director : Panaretos Kyriatzidis
Director : Adam Spreadbury-Maher
Design : Becky-Dee Trevenen
Tosca : Becca Marriott
Cavaradain : Roger Paterson
Scarpia : Michael Georgiou
Jacob Cohen/Alexandre Villaplane : Thomas Isherwood

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