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April 6, 2009 | by  | in Theatre |
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The Cunning Little Vixen

Sometimes it’s okay to throw around clichés. They are clichés for a reason—there must be some ultimate truth in them somewhere. Though saying that in and of itself has become a cliché. So, you should have that in your mind as you read the following. I don’t know opera, but I know what I like and I liked The Cunning Little Vixen. Really liked it. Loved is only vaguely too strong a word to express my feelings towards it.

Vixen is the gleefully anthropomorphised story of Vixen Sharp-ears (Kate Lineham), the Forester (Matthew Landreth) that catches her and all the other inhabitants in the Forest and nearby town. It is ultimately a story of liberty. Of yearning to be free. The elliptical storytelling and somewhat lugubrious pacing are played to the hilt resulting in a rip-roaring two hours of fun for the whole family.

In my little experience of opera—the full six-hour Parsifal a few years back put me off a little more than completely—I have seen far too many of the performers simply not try at all on stage. They will sing out in their wonderful voices, filling the space with aural wonder, then when their mouths close everything else shuts off as well, they become limp acting planks cluttering the stage. Not so here. There is so much energy and commitment emanating from every single performance on stage that you cannot help but glow along with them.

Jacqueline Coats’ direction makes the very best of highly awkward space, expanding the piece out to fill the whole epic scale of the Salvation Army Citadel. Tsai Lim’s accompanying animations are a joy to behold, complement the action perfectly and are worth the price of admission on their own. Rachel Moore’s costumes are wonderfully fun too. If you see one opera this year, see this one.

Written by Leoš Janácek
Directed by Jacqueline Coats
With Kate Lineham, Matthew Landreth, Barbara Paterson, Edmund Hintz, Daniel O’Connor, Stuart Coats, Barbara Graham, Felicity Smith, Megan Corby, Frances Moore, Rachel Day and Natalie Hona
At The Salvation Army Citadel, Friday 27 March,
Tuesday 31 March, Thursday 2 April, 7.30pm

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About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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