Porgy & Bess, EFT, Review
High expectations were met and more. This all too short Edinburgh run consisting of 3 performances of ‘Porgy and Bess’ by Cape Town Opera was a theatrical treat not to be missed. Although the location may have moved continents the context is the same.
Catfish Row is a community that demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses recognisable around the globe. The singing and the quality of the voices were as good as anticipated, but the choreography and acting were a bonus.
Although the romance between Bess, the streetwise woman and Porgy, the crippled beggar, is a rollercoaster, the audience are drawn in and immediately are on the side of the couple despite the pressures exerted by the characters Crown and Sporting life.
Xolela Sixaba has an amazing voice that you could listen to all night and the lithe, sensual Bess played by Tsakane Valentine Maswangany switches character like a female Jekyll and Hyde.
All the cast are first class but a special mention to Arline Jaftha as the widow Serena and Tshepa Moagi as Sporting Life. Ntobeko Rwanqa was a menacing Crown and his scenes with Bess provoked sharp intakes of breath from this near capacity audience.
The provision of the lyrics high on the stage was very helpful although those in the stalls may have missed some of the nuances of the performance due to looking upward to follow the text.
The entire production is out of the top drawer and the full orchestra and evocative scenery enhance a wonderful cast. If you read this before the production leaves Edinburgh then try and get a ticket - it would be worth queuing for returns.
Runs to Saturday 16th - matinee @ 2.30pm and 7.30pm