Mack the Knife is back in town. The Threepenny Opera was taken on by Hawtrey House (DWG), a darkly satirical take on the original, written by Bertolt Brecht for a 1920’s Germany setting. The Threepenny Opera, ‘a play with music’, draws from the anti-establishment themes and poverty of its post-war setting, but situates itself in the murky warehouses and brothels of contemporary London.

The main cast play their characters with a sly charm, led by the inimitable MacHeath, Tiger Brown, the cantankerous Peachum and his daughter Polly (played by a member of Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead), while the supporting cast includes beggars, prostitutes, and- a reverend? One thing which was apparent was the humour which infused Threepenny. It never took itself too seriously, not even at the climax, where the main conflict in the play involving Macheath and Peachum resolves with, quite literally, a fairy godmother. The plot stretches two and a bit hours, but it feels too soon when the proverbial curtains draw to a close.

Credit must be given to the directors, George Chilcott and Miles Morgan, and the Farrer Theatre team for the industrial-feel production design and mood, while the music team must also be praised for their exemplary musical performances, especially with ‘The Ballad of Mack the Knife’, ‘Overture’ and ‘Call from the Grave’. Last but definitely not least, we commend the unflagging cast members who put in hundreds of hours of work to make the play a success.

Vernon Li

Photos: Jasper Sodha