eugene mal

Eugene Onegin

Malvern Theatres


The show must go on….

Both Lucy Hall and Josephine Thorpe, who perform the main role as Tatyana in OperaUpClose’s production of Eugene Onegin, were absent during the show at Malvern Theatres on Saturday night and despite poor ticket sales the show battled on for the two hours and fifteen minutes set including a much needed interval.

Due to unforeseen circumstances the role of Tatyana was walked on-stage by Annemiek Van Elst, also the assistant director, and sung off-stage by Andrea Tweedale, which despite the talent and hard work proved to be very confusing and off putting to the storyline as the attention was constantly being split between the fantastic vocals belted out by Tweedale and watching Van Elst do her best to mime along.

Directed by Lucy Bradley, this love story has its fair share of heartbreak and drama but this adaptation catapults Tatyana from Russian society in the 19th Century to suburban London in the 1960s where she falls in love with Onegin, played by Tom Stoddart. This new English version by Robin Norton-Hale sees Tatyana’s revealing love letter to Onegin dismissed and disregarded setting her on a path of upset and melancholy.

Sister Olga (Felicity Buckland) and love interest Lensky (Cliff Zammit Stevens) come to clashes in the first act when at a birthday party he erupts into a jealous rage when Olga jives with Onegin. A drunken fight ensues before a duel is set for the next day to settle the differences that have torn the friendship apart.

In the second act a knife fight is undertaken between Onegin and Lensky ending in tragedy. There can only be one winner and Onegin murders his friend because they were both too stubborn to stop the tragic events unfolding.

As the years go by Tatyana grows more confident and successful and rebukes Onegin’s best efforts to win back her broken heart.

Despite not having the full orchestra, pianist and musical director Elspeth Wilkes, violinist James Widden, cellist Alison Holford and clarinettist Helen Pierce, were four powerful performers of Tchaikovsky’s work.

The show wouldn’t have happened without the incredible voice of Andrea Tweedale stitching everything together as the off-stage Tatyana but the set was extremely basic lacking any grandeur and opulence and the production seemed to be more style over substance.

Emma Trimble


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