The Beggar’s Opera reviews

Storyhouse’s inaugural production, rewritten to celebrate the opening of Chester’s brand new theatre, The Beggar’s Opera, has been reviewed by the country’s top theatre critics.

‘John Gay goes electric!’ ****

Claire Brennan of The Guardian gave The Beggar’s Opera four stars: “Maxwell’s depiction of a world where life is a commodity and love an anomaly communicates as vividly and viciously as Gay’s. His text is rendered with relish by the cast…They address an appeal to their imagined future, which is our present, and are supported by an audience grown vocal in its engagement: theatre and community in dialogue.”

‘A bold statement’ ****

Nigel Smith of The Stage also gave The Beggar’s Opera a resounding four stars: “Glyn Maxwell’s version of the 18th century classic successfully sets itself both in the past and the present. Harry Blake’s music is unashamedly modern amid the baroque stage and costume designs. There is an earthy northernness in the dialogue and dialects, with an unselfconscious scattering of regional references, written to engage directly with the local audience.”

‘Peppering the action are some extremely tuneful and brilliantly performed songs that are genuine crowd-pleasers.’ ****

Michael Green of the Chester Chronicle: “Within minutes, Maxwell’s lyrics – set to composer Harry Blake’s admirably varied music – are referencing Curzon Park, the River Dee and Northgate Jail and the characters make it clear they are all here to tell their stories, no matter how grand or notorious their background – a glorious and triumphant statement of intent on behalf of the all inclusive Chester Storyhouse.”

This Beggar’s Opera musical is delightfully different. It’s not an opera, really more a story with music. *****

Peter Grant of  Wirral Globe: “It is all skilfully delivered in costumes with diverse music from the lilting love songs and guitar-led, riffing rockers. The 15-strong cast engage the audience throughout with an abundance of humour and fine singing and there is so much energy and frenetic fun going on via the storytelling.”

The Beggar’s Opera runs until August.