Fiona Maddocks, in today’s brisk, devastating Observer review of Orpheus in the Underworld, specifies that the three stars in her rating are ‘awarded to the performers’.
Everything else about the production is awful:
Space is too limited – the gods smile occasionally – to permit too detailed an account of English National Opera’s new staging of Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld (1858/74)…. Offenbach lampooned, with exquisite precision, any social or political target in his line of vision. The death of a baby was not one. This was the extraneous scene-setter in (Emma) Rice’s new version, complete with “Baby” floral wreath and tiny coffin. The image indelibly imprinted on our mind’s eye, all joy was smothered in the opening minutes. It was the prelude to a night of flat jokes and dramatic miscalculations….
Can it get much worse?