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Joyful operetta at Arcola Theatre: The Perfect Picnic

Grimeborn is back for its 10th anniversary year at the Arcola Theatre with a new version of classic operas. This operetta pays tribute to the music of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Singing comedy and drama ; the audience will recognise the music and will be amused by new texts ! ‘The Perfect Picnic’ is a unique piece of opera theatre where two couples get to meet by chance or probably thanks to a nonconformist rock-style fairy with black wings. She has the power to stop the time, steal tickets and exchange them to confront a potential new reality.

The opening scene is an interesting mise en abîme which shows two couples getting ready to go to the opera. The show is about to start when Sarah and David realise, whilst reading the programme, that the diva on stage that night is David’s ex-wife, Rachel! Sitting right next to them, Michael, Rachel’s boyfriend, is already seducing Sarah. The diva sings a beautiful ‘bla-bla’ aria and the audience is already entertained by powerful characters and stunning opera singers.

We change sets and we are transported in a beautiful park. The sun is shining, the hamper is full…What could possibly go wrong? The two couples meet again to share drinks and innuendos. Some of the best-loved fragments from The Marriage of Figaro, Così Fan Tutte and Don Giovanni are woven into a fast-paced, highly original tale of love and misunderstanding by Tim Armstrong-Taylor and Ian Bloomfield. A pianist, Kelvin Lim plays live on one corner of the stage and enchants spectators. The cast is excellent : Melanie Gutteridge, Melinda Hugues, Cheryl Enever, Tim Armstrong-Taylor et Ian Bloomfield.

Grimeborn Festival refers to the East Sussex Glyndebourne Opera Festival, as it deliberately supports emerging performers and writers. The ‘grime’ comes from it having a ‘dirtier’ backdrop in a converted textile factory in the congested bustle of Hackney as opposed to the scenic gardens of East Sussex. The festival showcases new and experimental works. Founded by Arcola Theatre’s artistic director Mehmet Ergen in 2007, the festival is held at Arcola Theatre in Dalston, East London. For seven weeks this summer, visitors can experience 16 exciting new productions in and around Arcola Theatre. The programme is diverse and almost every ticket is £15 or less. Opera on the Run introduces a feast of singing around a ‘Perfect Picnic’ for a perfect moment.

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