Opera review: ENO/Punchdrunk: Duchess of Malfi

My review of ENO and Punchdrunk’s production of The Duchess of Malfi is now online at Musicalcriticism.com:

There’s no denying the effectiveness of Punchdrunk’s Duchess of Malfi as theatre or spectacle. It is staged across three floors of a disused (but not derelict) office building in London’s Docklands, around which the audience – wearing Comedia dell’Arte-style masks – are free to roam, touch, prod and investigate. Apart from a corridor of small offices at the start, which became closed off later in the performance, and a plenary concluding scene in a large warehouse space, the remainder of the building was one huge set completely open for exploration.

Continue reading here.

3 thoughts on “Opera review: ENO/Punchdrunk: Duchess of Malfi

  1. Nice review – I think you captured the experience and the failings well. Rather a relief for me to rip on the way the music worked from a layman’s perspective (see http://bit.ly/malfi-eno) and then find my feelings basically supported by someone who had the advantage of generally understanding and liking what he was hearing. =)

  2. Thanks, shadowdaddy. Nice review, too – I hadn’t registered the ‘untreated’ parts of the building – stairways, lifts, etc, but agree that they were oddly non-diegetic.

    (Did they run through everything twice, by the way? I’d heard that rumoured, but only managed to see anything once, so not sure …)

  3. I’m not 100% sure that they ran everything twice, though I did see one scene which clearly led directly into another which I’d seen earlier – and assume had I followed the actor I would have then seen that scene again… On the other hand, I really don’t think something like the ballroom scene in the lobby happened twice; the way we ended up following around I think it would have been hard to miss.

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