Theatre Review: Cosi Fan Tutte at Jacksons Lane

Opera meets iPads as Cosi Fan Tutte is set in the social networking age.

Jacksons Lane - a multi-arts and circus space in Highgate – takes its first step into arias and overtures with Oyster Opera’s modern re-working of Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte.

This new English translation by director Fraser Grant is accessible, clearly winning the first challenge of opera - who, what and why?

Inspired by the anonymity of online dating, the humorous libretto relies heavily on our enjoyment of the lead protagonists “tweeting” their way through the plot. The lovers’ call to arms becomes a business trip to Rio and the two sisters are now colleagues at a city consultancy firm.

There is clever use of multi-media to project the various tweets and status updates onto the backdrop, but the setting is a little sparse and the direction at times cumbersome.

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This production highlights how our reliance on iPads and smart phones hampers our ability to truly connect to each other, and unfortunately the same has to be said for this production.

The cast is frequently lost behind laptops or mobiles, and despite great performances from Gemma Morsley as Dorabella and Kris Belligh as Alfonso (both delightful) this production fails to connect with the audience beyond the superficial. A bold and quirky effort nonetheless.

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* Showing at Jacksons Lane Arts Centre in Archway Road, N6, from August 19-26.

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