The Merry Widow, Winchester Operatic Society, Theatre Royal, Winchester

First published in Curtain Call by

PONTEVEDRO is in financial crisis and relying on the wealthy Merry Widow (Allison Bradley) to marry a native, thus ensuring the solvency of the country. Not quite the Euro-zone crisis but some parallels.

Winchester Operatic Society breathed life into the music and brought out the gentle humour, but the show tended towards the long-winded and despite a liberal dose of gaiety and romance, they played it safe and missed some opportunities.

The principals were excellent and Bradley, in particular, offered purity, clarity and a superb range that was a joy to behold. Her relationship with Danilo (Adrian Hickford) was well portrayed, striking a balance between disdain and affection. Baron Zeta (Tony Blackshaw) and his much berated servant, Njegus (Graham Light) provided the comedy double act, with their mobile features and comic timing.

There was some fun choreography, not quite “Strictly”

standards but what they lacked in polish was made up for in enthusiasm.

Lehar’s operetta has a distinctive charm but I couldn’t make my mind up whether it is an authentic masterpiece of the genre or just outdated?

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