THEATRE REVIEW: The Threepenny Opera starring Rory Kinnear and Rosalie Craig


WHERE: National (Olivier Theatre)

WHEN: 21/5, runs to 1/9

Rory Kinnear must be a dream of an actor to work with. Instead of dominating this adaptation of Brecht and Weill’s classic as Captain Macheath he takes a step back to allow the entire cast to shine.

  • Read on for why Rosalie Craig is the real reason to see The Threepenny Opera

We felt the same way after seeing him last year in The Trial at the Young Vic. Rosalie Craig (as Macheath’s wife Polly Peachum) grabs the opportunity with both hands and proves what an accomplished singer as well as an actress she is.

The Threepenny Opera remains the story of an anti-hero (Macheath) who clashes with Peachum’s father, who controls London’s army of beggars, and calls on his best friend and chief of police to try to halt his downfall.

We’ve not much enjoyed Everyman and, the latest productions by the National’s artistic director Rufus Norris. But here the cartoonish energy he brought to both of those pieces is used to far better effect. We even have a motorised wheelchair and jar bearing the word ‘Drugs’ which could have featured in either.

Another beneficiary of Kinnear’s laid-back Mack is Haydn Gwynne who gives a show stealing turn as Peachum’s wife who has her own history with her now son-in-law. Sharon Small manages to be both moving and drug-addled as Jenny Diver.

At two hours 40 minutes with interval it feels too long but that’s a minor complaint in Norris’s best work as artistic director for the National.

  • Picture courtesy National Theatre. Tickets here.
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham

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