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Mozart Cosi fan tutte

The Minotaur Music Theatre at The Rosemary Branch, Islingont, London

4 February 2006

 

Musical Director/Pianist David Eaton

Director Stuart Barker

Designer Stuart Targett

Lighting Designer Paul J Need

 

Ferrando Kevin Kyle / Richard Rowe

Guglielmo John Savournin

Don Alfonso Sebastian Valentine

Fiordiligi Katerina Mina

Dorabella Claire Turner / Hannah Mason

Despina Georgina Ginsberg

 

On the last evening of a very successful run in the thimble sized theatre of the Rosemary Branch the cast of Cosi had been stretched from 6 to 8 performers. Laryngitis had struck reducing Kevin Kyle (Ferrando) and Claire Turner (Dorabella) to silence. Whilst they mimed their roles on stage Richard Rowe and Hannah Mason sang for them tucked in behind the piano not an ideal situation but here the confined theatre space became an advantage, the gap between singer and actor being small enough to be overlooked and it all fitted seamlessly together.

 

Designer Stuart Targett had produced a set with echoes of Matisse predominantly white with a back drop mural of squares in pink, green, blue and yellow which co-ordinated with 4 doors at the side of the stage and the fashionably retro costumes of Fiordiligi, Guglielmo, Ferrando and Dorabella. The men's adopted disguise as flower-power hippies was particularly effective Sharp witted Despina was dressed in equally sharp black and white, and Don Alfonso in muted greys and browns, a well camouflaged eminence grise with Fair Isle cardigan, open toed sandals and of course a pipe.

 

Above all the evening was fun and every word of Jeremy Sams' translation was audible and intelligible. The two temporarily non-singing performers acted their socks off and Kevin Kyle added an extra dimension to his hippie persona by playing a guitar accompaniment for the tenor solos. Vocal standards matched up to the acting; I was particularly impressed by Katerina Mina, who produced one of the best Come scoglio s I've heard from a singer of her age and by Richard Rowe as a meltingly romantic Ferrando.

 

David Eaton's sadly unsubtle piano accompaniment was the one disappointment of the evening, but

Stuart Barker's inventive direction extracted every inch of mileage from the story (and stage space) and played on the strengths of his cast.

 

Serena Fenwick

 

Photo credit: Stuart Targett