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The Threepenny Opera

Published 27 May 2016

What’s it all about?

The King is coming to London and everything must be perfect. Sadly life just doesn’t work like that, especially when you’ve got a womanising killer ruling the East End, a cross dressing psycho in charge of a gang of criminally minded beggars and brothels filled with scorned women with a taste for the high life. Emphasis on high…

If it’s sounding pretty bleak, don’t stop reading. Rufus Norris and Simon Stephens’ radical translation of the classic play with music is as witty as it is sharp, as raucous as it is dark. It’s a bit bonkers, a lot surreal and more than a touch creepy.

Still not sure what to expect? Imagine if Baz Luhrmann and Tim Burton had a love child who decided to make a piece of theatre inspired by Cabaret with a sprinkling of Sweeney Todd and a pinch of Punch & Judy. That. Sort of.

Who’s in it?

Rory Kinnear stars as the iconic womaniser Macheath. Kinnear is everything you want from a ruthless killer boasting a knack with the ladies: ominous, oddly vacant, hilarious and totally terrifying.

He finds his match in Rosalie Craig’s show-stealing Polly. With an inebriated Haydn Gwynne for a mother and Nick Holder as a corrupt cross-dressing crook for a father, she’s like a rebellious, grown up Matilda who has decided that crime does in fact pay.

Amongst the other sensational ensemble cast, look out for Sharon Small as the brazen, love sick Jenny Diver. While she might not boast Craig’s flawless voice, she shows us every ounce of emotion from Jenny’s tortured soul. 

What should I look out for?

Some early doors projectile vomiting that sets the tone.

The sound of bones being broken. Enough said.

Who was in the press night crowd?

We spotted Katherine Kingsley out to support her husband, company member Dominic Tighe, Lesley Manville and John Light.

In a nutshell?

Steeped in creepiness, stewed in surrealism, Rufus Norris and Simon Stephens get down and dirty for a witty, dark, delectable evening.

What’s being said on Twitter?

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Will I like it?

This isn’t going to be for everyone. If you’re averse to tapping into your dark side, maybe head to the other side of the river for the night. But if you’re not afraid of some good old fashioned naughtiness and filth, this will feel like the funniest bad dream you’ve ever had. In a good way.

The Threepenny Opera is playing until 1 September. You can book tickets through the National Theatre’s website.

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