It’s opera – but not quite as you will recognise it, in this one woman performance that examines the different types of grief and how we react to it.
Héloïse Werner’s performance questions what we know and understand about death and grief through opera. But what makes this performance so unique is the way it combines opera with other theatrical practises to try and make it clear about the true nature of these themes.
The strength of the show lies in Werner’s extraordinarily powerful vocals that draw the audience into what is happening in front of their very eyes. Her voice will certainly lead her a long way in the future and is pleasing to listen to.
However, the problem is that although the ideas behind the opera are fascinating, it all feels slightly disjointed and structurally not well put together. There is no real clarity in what the purpose of the opera is, aside from the different perspectives of grief and death which could have been developed more.
It is always fascinating to see opera stripped back and concentrating on emotions, but while Werner’s performance is based on her own personal experience of grief, there is something about Scenes from the End which leaves you feeling cold rather than reflective.
The words and music by Jonathan Woolgar, although give the audience some idea of people’s different attitudes towards grief also just lack in a touch of sentiment and sympathy that doesn’t really allow the audience to engage with it as much as they could.
Directed by Emily Burns, Scenes from the End feels more like a developing piece with many different directions it could take as opposed to a fully formed idea. There is a strong potential in the idea – even if in its current form it doesn’t quite win you over.
If you want to experience opera, but aren’t quite ready for the full three hours or so at the likes of the Royal Opera House, Scenes from the End is a great taster of how opera can be used to explore emotions and people’s behaviour. In this case it just needs a bit more work in terms of structure and sentiment.
Scenes from the End is being performed at the Camden People’s Theatre as part of the Camden Fringe Festival, the last performance is tonight . To book tickets visit:http://www.camdenfringe.com/show.php?acts_id=617