Having wowed audiences with his enchanting Faeries at the Linbury, for his new work Will Tuckett’s turned to an altogether darker source, namely Hogarth’s 18th century etchings of a gin-soaked London. Poverty, disease (especially the clap) and prostitution were rife, so in a series of tableaux vivants, which lurch from the bawdy to the poignant, from the grotesque to the pathetic he brings Hogarth’s etchings vividly to life.
The darker aspects of Pleasure’s Progress are shot through with a sense of satire and morality which make Hogarth so recognisable, and his vision is expertly served by a cast of seven singing dancer-actors who give this piece its vitality. Part music-theatre, part opera and part dance, Tuckett fuses all these disciplines together with a deft hand and in doing so has created a mini-masterpiece that is at turns funny and sad – a sort of Carry On Hogarth that engages at every level.
The performances are faultless with particularly vivid contributions coming from all the cast, especially Tom Solomon as Hogarth and Anna Dennis as a thrillingly operatic Nancy.
Pleasure’s Progress is touring to The Lowry (22-23 October).