Cosi – Kings Head
By Chris Parkinson
So – where’s the logic in coupling a play about some old school nutters putting on a Pyramus and Thisbe version of Cosi fan Tutte with a nutty version of Mozart’s silly little opera about a couple of upper class twits?
It’s as daft an argument for dramaturgical sense as mentioning ‘breakfast’ and ‘dachshund’ in the same sentence because they both have ‘sausage’ in them. As somebody once said – ‘I’m a director; I don’t have a concept!’
But so bloody what!
The rather fabulous King’s Head here successfully defibrillates it’s two year dead opera corpse by staging a stonking ‘up close and personal’ Cosi fan Tutte via the medium of a game show. It’s a rather inspired setting for the ‘insipid, happy go lucky, music of Mozart’ (as somebody once described it).
The story is a simple riff on the ‘will they, won’t they, aren’t women rubbish’ Restoration idea. Two blokes, madly in love with their ladies, are persuaded by Don Alphonso (Steven East), here a silver suited, silver tongued game show host with all the credibility of the Ferrero Rocher ambassador, to test the love of their girlfriends (outstandingly performed by guaranteed future stars Stephanie Edwards and Alisa Mainwaring). Just before marrying them, the boys agree to pretend to go off to war, only to reappear disguised as the 118 promo boys, and successfully woo their alternative lady. There’s lots of singing and in keeping with Intergalactic Women’s Moment (or whatever Hallmark are marketing it as), women are proved to be rubbish. The End. The audience absolutely loved it.
This was promptly followed by Nowra’s play ‘Cosi’ wherein we are introduced to a gaggle of stereotyped nutters of the old, probably non PC, school (ah – that’s why I loved it!) played to pantomime perfection by Mark Little and Christopher Finn amongst others who, deciding to put on the aforesaid music of Mozart, end up with a spoken word mash-up of the story to occasional musical punctuation. Kinda ‘Fanny goes Tooty’. It’s great. The audience absolutely loved it.
In fact it was particularly touching to see the opera cast also in the audience and also genuinely enjoying the play – not in a ‘we’re all luvies together’ sort of way but in a ‘ this is really funny. I’ve never seen it before’ sort of a way. Unless they were acting.
Any one of these shows is a delight – seeing both together is frankly to experience acute spoiling by the Ferrero Rocher ambassador himself.