Review: Gloria- a Pigtale, Norwich Playhouse

GLORIA A PIGTALE by HK Gruber, Music - H.K. Gruper, Libretto - Rudolf Herfurtner, Director - Freder

GLORIA A PIGTALE by HK Gruber, Music - H.K. Gruper, Libretto - Rudolf Herfurtner, Director - Frederic Wake-Walker, Designer - Geoffrey Paterson, Lighting - Cis Oboyle, The Albany Theatre, London, 2014, Credit: Johan Persson. - Credit: Johan Persson

Gloria - A Pigtale has a lot of twists in it. Gloria has an exciting life, all out of the frying pan nearly into the fire, you might say. But that, like quite a lot in the opera, might be thought a bit - even a bite - indelicate. Human sausages, fresh from the mincer and acting out of their skins, are reminders of the boundaries of porcine destiny.

GLORIA A PIGTALE by HK Gruber, Music - H.K. Gruper, Libretto - Rudolf Herfurtner, Director - Frederi

GLORIA A PIGTALE by HK Gruber, Music - H.K. Gruper, Libretto - Rudolf Herfurtner, Director - Frederic Wake-Walker, Designer - Geoffrey Paterson, Lighting - Cis Oboyle, The Albany Theatre, London, 2014, Credit: Johan Persson. - Credit: Johan Persson

With an English translation by Amanda Holden of Rudolf Herfurtner's libretto, Frederic Wake-Walker directs a plot spiced with invention and surreal humour. It owes a lot to the German cabaret tradition of the 1920s in its dizzy blend of grotesque, sometimes distinctly macabre fantasy with sharp instant characterisation. For British audiences there are also similarities, if not exactly parallels with George Orwell's Animal Farm.

The music is by Hans Gruber, and Geoffrey Paterson conducts the Chroma Ensemble that keeps up rather brash, fiercely rhythmic accompaniment with some instrumental surprises while the singing is remarkably powerful.

Sion Goronwy, if more a King Kong than a wild boar called Rodney, produces a splendid sound, and Gillian Keith is the winsome Gloria.

The set was festooned with sausages when we arrived, and most faces were wreathed in smiles we left, puzzled to a degree yet anything but disgruntled.

Christopher Smith

• Gloria - a Pigtale is part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival which runs until Sunday. Visit www.nnfestival.org.uk

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