On Tuesday 20th September, the 6th form German boys and German dons ventured up to London to see a performance of 'The Threepenny Opera' at the National Theatre.
Having been warmed up by a comedy/magic street act and a hearty supper we made our way over to the theatre not knowing quite what to expect. We knew the background of how 'The Beggar's Opera' was adapted by Bertolt Brecht in 1928 into 'The Threepenny Opera'. And we had studied Brecht's 'The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui' so we felt we were safe in assuming that it would be no ordinary opera. Brecht with his revolutionary Epic Theatre genre is famous for tearing down the conventions of classical theatre.
Our suspicions started to be confirmed before the piece had even started by the lack of a curtain in front of the stage. However, not many moments into the opening musical number Brecht had managed to shock us. As the narrator belted out Kurt Weil's famous Ballard of 'Mack the Knife' (which has been performed by Robbie Williams, David Bowie and Frank Sinatra to name just a few), the stage was overrun by a rag-wearing rabble on a revolving platform being murdered by the protagonist.
Mack was played by Rory Kinnear, who has been in Skyfall, Spectre and The Imitation Game. As the anti-hero he was sinister and terrible, but managed to win the audience over with his wit and pluckiness. Set in a sort of shanty town in Victorian London, the opera was supposed to look cheap, but was performed with great skill. It was extremely comical in places and dark in others. It posed the scary question of what we would do in the awful situation these characters were in and it became hard to judge them despite their atrocious behaviour. It provoked a lot of interesting discussion and was truly captivating to watch – I would recommend it to everyone.
Report by Tom Jewell, B social, 6.2