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Edinburgh Fringe 2023

The Impresario

Velocirapture Productions

Genre: Comedy, Opera and Operatic Theatre

Venue: thespace @ Venue 45


Low Down

Mr. Scruples has had enough. He has decided to retire from being The Impresario and will go off and farm. Mr. Angel, the financial backer of the films being made at his studio, wants him to direct one more film – an opera as he has two women, one upon each arm. His biggest issue is that one is unaware of the other and both wish to star in the operatic film he plans – and he has promised both. The solution is eventually found that will satisfy most, if not all of the protagonists.


As Operas go, this was a perfectly pleasant romp through the music of Mozart and an updated libretto. It gave due regard to the origin but refreshed it and put it into a lightly comic scenario which was very well done. As a narrative this worked really well, and we were in for a real treat.

As for the direction, when sung, this worked exceptionally well.  When acted it merged on melodrama with the attendant issues of trying to play it in accordance with where a song may break out. It led to odd moments when performers were left feeling like they had to overreact as the usual action might not be big enough to cover the emotional requirements of their character’s circumstances. To make this work you need to play it straight and not be put off by the musical interludes or give in to the music and play it as a song being sung. Split between the two becomes no mans land. I believe that song should prevail.

Live music is always to be treasured and here we had a, slightly out of sight, mini orchestra playing along. It was exquisite to hear and enjoy in the little venue. Of course, you were never going to perform Opera to click tracks but having a mini orchestra is no guarantee of class or quality – here we got both. It was great.

Costume and the lighting added beautifully and the addition not just of a live feed but also of the set up in film was well crafted, imagined and delivered. I particularly liked the way in which Mr. Scruples being unable to understand completely how sound was recorded and used, was used. That made me and more than me giggle, but it also meant we had relationships across the footlights, even before Mr. Scruples arrived. Worked really well.

A note here also for the camera operator, who came out several times and had to not only work through the finale, but also keep both the divas in focus whilst they demanded attention. Bravo!

Performances were very well done and both of our divas – Madame Goldentrill and Miss Silverpeel were given to us with all of the tricks and trills of the age of which they were representative. You could see either or both on the sets of major films having tantrums and fits, whilst our other named character onstage Mr. Bluff would be looking on in horror.

This was a delightful piece of comic opera, which has been delivered with a great deal of confidence and ability whilst also was crafted with love and affection for the medium. Well worth a visit, really well worth it.