Carmen, King's Head Theatre - ★★★ - Until March 9, 2019


"Carmen, F*** you!" sings an angry (Don) Jose. This sums up the tone of this production: we are in 21st century London with a language to match. Mobile phones are frequently used and an electronic tag is featured at one point. Carmen is a minimum-waged NHS worker, Jose is a dissatisfied nurse in the same hospital and Escamillo an Arsenal player. In this stripped-down production for the tiny King's Head stage, only the three central characters remain. Musical accompaniment is provided by piano and keyboard, and the set design consists mainly of backdrop curtains. LOVE WILL SET YOU FREE (irony alert) appears in large Tracey Emin-Like writing above the stage. Unfortunately the drama of the opera is also minimised. Jose comes across as needy but sympathetic, whereas Carmen appears cold and calculating. Her sudden 'upgrade' to Escamillo appears based solely on material ambition. Any examination of a toxic relationship (or crime of passion) is too simplistic here. Strong vocal performances (especially by Robert Paterson as Jose) are engaging throughout and offset sometimes clumsy staging. The famous 'Habanera' and 'Toreador' are inventively re-configured, but in the end, this is a rather cartoon-like Carmen.

Reviewed by A.L.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆ 

Want to save on tickets? See our Tips page.

WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:

Until March 9, 2019:
Feb 25-28, 7:00 pm
March 1-2 & 4-9, 7:00 pm 
March 2 & 9, also at 3:30 pm
King's Head Theatre
Nearest tube: Angel
https://www.kingsheadtheatre.com/?spektrix_bounce=true

Latest Reviews

Slipped: Cinderella... Rebooted! - Royal Vauxhall Tavern - ★★★★ - Until January 8, 2020

Whistle Down The Wind, The Union Theatre - ★★★★★ - Until December 21, 2019

Singin' In The Rain, The Mill at Sonning - ★★★★★ - Until February 8, 2020

Pinocchio: No Strings Attached! - Above The Stag Theatre - ★★★★★ - Until January 11, 2020

Orphée, London Coliseum - ★★★★★ - Until November 29, 2019

Escape From Planet Trash, Pleasance Theatre - ★★★★ - Until December 22, 2019

An Act of God, The Vaults - ★★★★★ - Until January 12, 2020

High Fidelity, The Turbine Theatre - ★★★★★ - Until December 7, 2019

All's Well That Ends Well, Jermyn Street Theatre - ★★★★★ - Until November 30, 2019

The Nativity Panto, King's Head Theatre - ★★★★ - Until January 11, 2020

The City Life Magazine. Reviews and Ratings.