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29th September 2015

Preview: ‘Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and Other Love Songs)’

Already shrouded in critical acclaim, HOME’s latest success is theatre group Kneehigh’s ‘Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs)’

Opening to critical acclaim earlier this month, Cornwall-based theatre group Kneehigh brought ‘Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and Other Love Songs)’ to Manchester’s HOME. The production is a radical reworking of John Gay’s ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ into a modern tale of wit, wonder and weirdness.

Directed by Mike Shepard and containing a shiny score of music from Charles Hazelwood, a modern ambience glows through the production, taking each audience on one hell of a night. It’s shocking, touching and funny. A crafty mix of contemporary corruption, urban myths and confrontations comes together in this gritty world.

The original Beggar’s Opera was written in 1728 by John Gay and adapted by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill as The Threepenny Opera in 1928. Like its predecessors, Kneehigh’s new version is a musical satire that holds a mirror to today’s society. The story itself alters before our eyes into glorious theatrical life.

Beginning as a renowned local criminal, Macheath is hired by the corrupt mayoral candidate Les Peachum to kill his rival; here a sense of the unnerving nature of the play is unleashed. However, the story is unable to stop there. Once the deed is done, Macheath is torn. A life of love? Or a life of crime? Subsequently and inevitably, the remainder of the tale begins to crumble.

It is truly a modern performance, incorporating puppetry, dance and physical theatre to keep us on the edge of our seats.

The 13-strong ensemble comprises Rita Fatania (Mrs Peachum), James Gow (Musician & Mac’s Gang), Angela Hardie (Polly Peachum), Martin Hyder (Les Peachum), Giles King (Colin Lockit), Patrycja Kujawska and Lucy Rivers (Widow Goodman), Dominic Marsh (Macheath), Justin Radford (Musician & Mac’s Gang), Ian Ross (Musician, Mayor Goodman and Mac’s Gang), Beverley Rudd (Lucy Lockitt), Jack Shalloo (Filch), and Sarah Wright (Punch Puppeteer and Mac’s Gang).

After opening at Manchester’s HOME, ‘Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and Other Love Songs)’ carries on to Birmingham Rep (29 Sept – 3 Oct); Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham (13 – 17 Oct); Northern Stage, Newcastle (20 – 24 Oct); Warwick Arts Centre (27 – 31 Oct); West Yorkshire Playhouse (3 – 7 Nov); Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse (10 – 14 Nov); and Shoreditch Town Hall, London (2 – 12 Dec).

The production is suitable for anybody over 14 and is running at HOME until 26th September. To watch the trailer, click here.

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