Fantastic Mr Fox

English Touring Opera

Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton


YOUNG people in the cast and the audience enjoyed a lesson on nature in this short opera by Tobias Picker, based on a Roald Dahl story.

Performing alongside professionals, pupils from Wolverhampton's East Park Junior School played fox cubs and youngsters from Woden Primary were singing trees in the tale of how the cunning Mr Fox battled to protect his family from three unpleasant farmers whose only motive was profit.

It was pretty obvious who won the hearts and minds of the audience when, at the curtain call, the animals were cheered and farmers Boggis (Henry Grant Kerswell), Bunce (Marke Wilde) and Bean (Maciek O'Shea), booed.

Nicholas Merryweather sang impressively as Mr Fox who had his beautiful bushy tail shot away by the farmers but still managed to save his wife (Miriam Sharrad) and cubs, even when a mechanical digger, Agnes (Fiona Kimm) was brought in.

Costumes were colourful, and the cast included loveable characters like Mole and Badger, and there was even a love match between Hedgehog and Porcupine.

Tim Yealland directed the opera on Monday, and the ETO staged a double bill on Tuesday - Puccini's Il Tabarro and Gianni Schicchi.

Paul Marston 


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