I have seen The Magic Flute many times before, however I have never seen anything like this. The show takes place at The Loco Klub, a venue that is situated underneath the tunnels of Bristol Temple Meads station. This desolate landscape compliments this modern take of the Magic Flute that this company has undertaken. Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, the story follows the journey of the lover Tamino (Timothy Coleman) and his comedic friend Papageno (Charlie Morris), as they embark on a journey to find The Queen of the Night’s daughter Pamina (Kimberley Jones), who has been kidnapped and lured by Sarastro (Patrick Osborne). But when they find her, does she need saving and who is the evil party?
This modern take of a traditional opera works very well and is hilarious. The balance between the complex, relationship driven drama created by the director (Kate Willetts) and the vocal demands of Mozart’s score are managed well by this young and talent filled cast. Kimberley Jones, a graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, is a wonderful Pamina, with a gorgeous voice and control. Charlie Morris’ Papageno is fantastic, with great comedic timing in a well-crafted performance. The stark contrast between the strong lyrical bass of Sarastro and Zoe Bartlett’s fiery and powerful Queen of the night is also a highlight. A special mention must also go to Thomas Woods performance as Monostatos. His sinister, but vulnerable performance leaves the audience hating him, while feeling pity for him at the same time. A great interpretation of a character that is often forgotten or played as just evil in many performances.
I highly recommend people to see this production in Bristol by this young opera company. I applaud any company that tries to modernise traditional operas, to create resonance with a modern audience, to keep this art form alive.