It’s hard to say the title of this play without bursting into the famous aria from Rossini’s Barber Of Seville. That cheery ditty certainly puts you in the right frame of mind for this buoyant, racy, self-referentially funny adaptation by Charles Morey of Beaumarchais’ Le Marriage de Figaro.
Set in the 18th Century, the story is a stack of intrigues, twists and ill-formed plots piled high and teetering. Figaro (Ted Crosby) is engaged to Suzanne (Yasmin Arkinstall), but each is also the object of uninvited and disruptive infatuation from wealthy noblewoman, Marceline (Melanie Robinson) and the lascivious Count Almaviva (Paul Murton) respectively. The neglected Countess (Molly Haddon) and a reluctant servant, Cherubin (Tim Murphy) join forces with Figaro and Suzanne in a convoluted scheme to set things right… and of course it mostly goes wrong.
It’s a fun and well-paced romp with plenty of laughs and lots of thinly disguised quips about current politics. There are tongue-in-cheek references to “opera” and side winks that break the fourth wall, giving a convivial sense of inclusion between audience and performers.
Productions at the Genesian walk a meandering line between wishful prestige theatre and self-embracing make-do independent and it makes the experience all the more endearing. To their credit, the company makes a conspicuous effort with costumes, staging, lighting and sound and the results are admirable. In fact, a very hands-on but impressive scene got its own applause.
Figaro is a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours of theatre with a likeable cast in a quaint, intimate space.
Until Oct 14. The Genesian Theatre, 420 Kent St, Sydney. $25-$30. Tickets & Info: www.genesiantheatre.com.au
By Rita Bratovich.