Produced by the Royal Opera House and based on a series of William Hogarth paintings depicting a depraved and lewd 18th century London, Pleasure’s Progress is a riotous romp through several sad tales that, courtesy of Director and Choreographer Will Tuckett, effortlessly fuses opera, dance and music theatre with a multi-talented cast drawn from the different performance arts.
Librettist Alasdair Middleton avoids the pitfalls of relying on smut and vulgarity for cheap laughs. Instead the ruder aspects and choice language are used sparingly and appropriately with wit and sophistication leaving little doubt that this is a piece to entertain the thinking adult.
Musical Director Michael Haslam and violinist Jeff Moore ably perform original music composed by Paul Englishby and the cast make the most of Middleton’s lyrics.
Jon Bausor’s evocative set swamps the small performance space and it’s uplifting to see the lighting design by Jon Clark and Warren Letton used so effectively.
The only drawback is that the pace sags somewhat towards the end and the boisterousness that is so evident in the first two thirds is by and large lost in the latter section, which is a shame. However, overall this is a gloriously fun and silly evenings entertainment but only for those not easily offended!
- Malcolm Wallace