Theatre: Curtain Calls

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The Independent Culture
It grieves me so say it, but Peter Stein's WNO production of Peter Grimes was dreadful. This is one of the unquestionable masterpieces of 20th-century theatre and Stein's musico-dramatic skills are beyond reproach - his Falstaff and Otello have gone down in the history books - so how come he failed to breathe dramatic life into this great work? There were moments of such laziness that I began to doubt if he had been in rehearsals.

By contrast, Richard Jones's magnificent interpretation of Hansel and Gretel for the same company was not only genuinely thrilling, it was an object lesson in direction. The detail, wit and depth of everyone's work was astonishingly imaginative and absolutely wedded to the piece.

It would be unfair to expect Broomhill Opera to hit the same inspirational levels with The Silver Lake. Despite the best intentions of translator Rory Bremner (above), Kurt Weill's opera/ musical remains a fascinating mess. Musically terrific, thanks to excellent work from conductor Charles Hazlewood, dramatically it is almost a non-starter. Thank God for the hilarious Buffy Davis who picked everything up at the top of Act Two and never let it go. Everyone else looked marooned and helpless as, scene by scene, endless dramatic or comic potential seemed to have eluded the grasp of director Gordon Anderson.

Wilton's Music Hall, London E1 (0171-420 0000) to 18 Apr

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