The Merry Widow

Norwich Playhouse

Norwich Playhouse

The Merry Widow is one of those vaguely Offenbach type offerings, which tend to make me hum along, although I don't really know the melody.

And that's exactly what makes this such a successful evening for an amateur opera company. With such light-hearted, tuneful fare, the audience is already on their side before they've started.

Not that this was an incompetent rendering of the songs: Deborah Gothard as the Widow had a sweet soprano which twittered ably above her barrage of baritone suitors.

But perhaps the most charming of all the voices was John Clack as good-natured cuckold Baron Zeta, who managed to combine musical precision and great comic timing.

The plot is silly, slight and hackneyed. The dresses long, sweeping and satin. The movement graceful and mostly slow. If you were thinking of a house style, this would be Royal Opera, rather than ENO.

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But who needs to be progressive, when you can swing your fan, flash your tiara and waltz like you were really in a fairy tale?

If you get the chance to see Livewire, take it. But remember, Champagne in the interval.

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