Brecht's thrilling and macabre musical will be brought to life by a cast of talented actor-musicians from Thu 12 October to Sat 4 November 2017
Book and lyrics by Bertolt Brecht. Music by Kurt Weill
Directed by David Thacker
The Queen is dead. Long live the King! So sing the criminals, corrupt bankers, and opportunists of Bertolt Brecht’s provocative dark comedy musical The Threepenny Opera. The country finds itself in a power vacuum as it prepares for the coronation of Kind Charles III, and now all the criminal elements in society thrive. The story follows notorious criminal Macheath, who has secretly married Polly Peachum…much to the horror of her racketeer father. Brecht’s macabre, darkly funny play is a thrilling musical drama.
In the lead role of Macheath, alias Mack the Knife, is David Birrell (Talking Heads, Educating Rita, Journey's End (Best Supporting Actor), The Family Way, An Enemy of the People (Best Supporting Actor Manchester Theatre Awards) Octagon Theatre). Playing one of his key love interests, Polly Peachum, is Anna Wheatley (Much Ado about Nothing, Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Royal Shakespeare Company 2016; Leaper, Tucked In, 2016), returning to the Octagon after her role as Brenda-Marie in Martha, Josie and the Chinese Elvis at the Octagon. Anna was nominated for Best Actress in a Supporting Role at the Manchester Theatre Awards 2015, for her role in The Family Way at the Octagon Theatre Bolton
Also returning to the Octagon is Eric Potts in the role of Polly’s immoral father, Mr Peachum (The Winter’s Tale, Octagon Theatre Bolton, 2016; Dick Whittington, Empire Liverpool, 2015). Returning to the Octagon after her role as Mari in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (2012), Sue Devaney (When We are Married, Northern Broadsides 2016; Our Gracie, Oldham Coliseum 2016; Mamma Mia International Tour, Nick Grace Management 2016) will be playing the indignant Mrs Peachum.
Following his role in the Octagon’s summer project The Railway Children, Robert Jackson (Stick Man, Scamp Theatre 2016; Treasure Island, Creation Theatre Company 2015), takes on the role of corrupt police commissioner Tiger Brown. Richard Colvin (Thursford Christmas Spectacular, Thursford Enterprises, 2016) also returns as one of the gang members after his role as Dexter in Singin’ in the Rain 2016.
The cast also includes newcomers to the Octagon. Ruby Ablett (The True History of Julia Pastrana, Watershed Productions Hope Mill Theatre, 2017) is taking on the role of tiger Brown’s daughter, Lucy, who is also another of Macheath’s love interests. Martina Isibor (One Love: The Bob Marley Musical, Playful Productions & StagePlay; Made in Dagenham, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, 2016) will be the feisty Pirate Jenny. Samuel Martin (The Taming of the Shrew, The Globe Theatre, 2017; A Better Man, The Young Vic, 2016) will be playing a gang member as well as taking on the role of Filch. Steve Simmonds (The Sword in the Stone, New Wolsey Ipswich, 2015; Cinderella the Rock n Roll Panto, Stafford Gatehouse, 2014) and Natasha Lewis (Corbyn the Musical – The Motorcycle Diaries, Waterlook East Theatre, 2016; The Who’s Tommy, Ramps on the Moon, 2017) will also be gang members. Natasha is already well-versed in The Threepenny Opera, having played Mrs Peachum in 2015 at Mumford Theatre, Lucy in 2014 for Graeae, West Yorkshire, New Wolsey, and Nottingham, and Polly Peachum in 2002 at the National Theatre. Carol Sloman, who is the Musical Arranger and MD, will play roles as cast.
All of the cast are talented actor-musicians and will be singing and playing instruments. They will be joined by 20 ALRA students, who will alternative performances in groups of 10. The ALRA students will gain experience
of working in a professional production and will be integral to making The Threepenny Opera. The team at the Octagon and David Thacker have worked with ALRA students on previous productions including The Hired Man, Journeys End and Long Day’s Journey into Night.
Professor of Theatre David Thacker, who is directing The Threepenny Opera, says: “This brilliant musical drama is perfect of our time. With the rise in homelessness, it could have been written for today. It is politically very sharp but, most importantly, it’s funny, entertaining, and provocative. I’m thrilled to have assembled a wonderful cast of actor-musicians – all of whom take my breath away with their talent, versatility, and skill.”
The Threepenny Opera opens at the Octagon Theatre Bolton from Thu 12 October – Sat 4 November.