Threepenny Opera

by Christopher Verleger
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Tuesday May 24, 2011
A scene from "Threepenny Opera"
A scene from "Threepenny Opera"  

"Threepenny Opera", Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's musical epic about underworld criminal Macheath (or Mack the Knife) and his miniature army of beggars and thieves in Victorian London, directed by Kristan Seemel of the Brown/Trinity MFA Programs, is a marvelous production with style, attitude and remarkable talent.

The familiar story follows Macheath (Richard Williams), a notorious criminal, who marries Polly (Jaselyn Blanchard), daughter of Peachum (Chris Berry), renowned gangster who controls the peddlers of London. Peachum and his wife, Celia (Zarina Shea), make it their mission to see Macheath taken into custody, but early efforts are thwarted by Tiger Brown (Vichet Chum), Macheath's army buddy who is also Chief of Police.

The illegal, mischievous adventures of both Macheath's and Peachum's minions are accompanied by songs and most musical production numbers are showstoppers.

But "Threepenny" isn't just a "Cabaret"-esque musical about an irreverent pack of lost souls, but rather a critique of capitalism and how stealing and thievery are inherent, regardless of social status.

The cast is rife with outstanding performers and each member of the ensemble is integral to this superb production. Williams is exceptional and doesn't miss a beat in the lead role and Blanchard pours her heart and voice out as Polly. Berry and Tiffany Nichole Green, as Lucy (one of Macheath's many women admirers), also deserve mention for their fine performances.

With a running time of more than three hours, the show can't help but feel long, but it is considered an epic, so the length is purposeful and not particularly noticeable.

Seemel and his cast have truly accomplished something memorable with this production.

"Threepenny Opera" completed its run on May 22nd at Pell Chafee Performance Center, 87 Empire Street, Providence, RI. For more information, visit Trinity Repertory Company's website.

Chris is a voracious reader and unapologetic theater geek from Narragansett, Rhode Island.


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