Music by Kurt Weill
RNCM Theatre, 6 December 2015
It is 1946, war is over. A scorching hot day in New York.
Especially, that is, if you happen to live in an old brownstone with a bunch of other families. Street Scene follows their fortunes over the course of a day, during which tempers become frayed and violence explodes.
There is plenty of fine music on show here: an ex-GI hums a blues while coming up from the basement. An Italian family delivers a heartfelt ode to ice-cream, a love which others share and so they join in. Some beautiful love songs, with my pick being ‘What Good Would The Moon Be?’ as sung by Michaela Parry, who plays Rose. Langston Hughes wrote the lyrics to these songs, by the way, if you’re looking for a reason why they’re so good.
An highlight of the show is the exhilarating explosion of Lindy Hop – a redhead and her beau doing their steps. Wholly unexpected: where’d that come from? It was very welcome anyway. Bethan Rhys William did the choreography for the show. Georgia Gardiner, who plays Mae, is the soprano who can also Lindy Hop.
This is a show where Love does not triumph in the end. It is assumed (by the characters, and so presumably by the writer and audience) that people of different cultures and races should not mix. In one respect, then, Street Scene has dated significantly. Nonetheless, the music and songs are splendid. This is a fine production of a rarely performed work, so catch it while you can! An early Christmas treat but there are only three performances to follow. Details here.