Opera Australia’s version of The Magic Flute, now playing at the State Theatre, is a fun event. Mozart’s magical music is performed to a backdrop of acrobats weaving, climbing and diving through a forest of vines – a bit too dark and murky at times and often somewhat distracting from the main action.
By adding performance troupe Legs On The Wall to the cast, director David Freeman has fleshed out the fantasy side of this improbable tale. Just as improbably (and confusing) is the costuming, which wanders through a maze of periods and places – from ancient Egypt to modern public school. Freeman has also Ockerised the play, with injections of barbecues, cans of Fosters and local references – mostly to good comic effect, although the women’s chorus looked totally lost and ineffective in a get-up akin to a bunch of rejects from Emirates’ flight attendant school.
The singing is in German, the dialogue in modern English. And all in all it’s a bizarre mish-mash accompanied by some equally patchy singing from a mostly young and up and coming cast anchored by a few old-stagers such as Daniel Sumegi and Graeme Anderson. Andrew Moran has to be praised for his boisterous and comic interpretation of Papegeno and Andrew Goodwin revealed a beautifully mellow voice as Tamino.
A great fun night at the opera which is sure to offend the purists and the critics.