By J. Strauss


Die Fledermaus programmeThis was our first foray into an operetta which was not Gilbert & Sullivan. We adapted the score and took the usual artistic liberties which are now expected of a Concept Production. Out went the typical ornate box sets and in came an amorous American film producer and his less than satisfied wife with her entourage of minders (AKA The Management).

This was a "big sing" for Concept as it was an operetta few knew and nobody had sung before. Thankfully our new MD, Jo Herco, brought imagination as well as hard work to singing rehearsals. Some of us went to see the new production of the WNO's Die Fledermaus, but whilst we enjoyed it, we were not sure that the somewhat drunken sexual antics would go down well with our audience.

What we did know is that we were not going to do it old fashioned and staid. Out went a drawing room opening scene and in came a patio replete with chorus girls sun bathing and amorous jailer. Casting our Alfred proved a little problem with a couple of people dropping out - daunted again, we suspect, by the singing, but Steve came to our rescue, not seen since Gondoliers, singing his way through a variety of guises to attract the attention of the fading film star that was Rosalinda. The Second act took place at the ball with some magnificent costume accessories by our wardrobe mistress Leigh, and the clear columns of the first act were rearranged and lit from within. The third act was transformed into a atmospheric jail by again rearranging the columns but this time swathing them in huge chains and bathing them in a chilly blue light.

Comic touches were many, from Eisenstein through to the jailer Frank. Not to forget the Ferrero Roche moment of Ivan the butler and the rather hung-over attitude of MacFrosch. Singing was superb as always with Jan, Rhiannon and Ellie giving resounding performances. A certain sexual chemistry was brought to bare by Count Orlofsky as he (or she?) made their way through the cast. All in all a real challenge of a show which we like to think we pulled off!

Adele singing 

"good scenes, colour and excitement were created in an imaginative production by Janet Holloway and Concept continue to surprise and entertain"