An Incomplete Education

Two bites of the cherry this month for fans of Emmanuel Chabrier’s whimsical operetta about the wedding night trials and tribulations of two young newlyweds in fin-de-siecle France. Clockwork Opera has already given its production of the one-act sex comedy an outing in a free lunchtime performance at Charlton House and it is due to reprise the show during the week of Valentine’s Day at Severndroog Castle, a tower built by a grieving widow as a memorial to love at the end of the 18th century on Shooters Hill. Oddly, the piece requires both bride and groom to be played by a soprano and in Clockwork’s version they are sung by Kirsty McLean and Georgina Thorburn, with Michael Lafferty as the didactic and faintly ridiculous tutor Pausanias. The trio are accompanied by pianist Ashley Beauchamp. Despite initial nerves, they handled the farce with aplomb, raising laughs with their fumbling nativity and embarrassment and, in Lafferty’s case, drunken pratfalls. It was all terrific fun as well as musically accomplished, which should guarantee a second success when it moves up the road to romantic Severndroog. 

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