Premiered: 25th-27th September 2021 at The Bloomsbury Theatre, London.
From Highbury Opera Theatre, the innovative company behind Fever Pitch: The Opera (‘A zinger of a production’ – Artibravi) comes The Weekend, an original comic opera based on Sir Michael Palin’s popular stage play.
World-weary retiree Stephen Febble wants nothing more than a quiet weekend at home. What he gets instead is a surprise visit from his needy daughter, her problematic husband, their excitable daughter, and a rampaging family dog. When Stephen’s long-suffering wife reminds him that it is their turn to host the village cocktail party, all of the ingredients are in place for a rollicking, sometimes dark-humoured ride through British family life, laced with Michael Palin’s unique wit.
Click here for a great preview interview in the Observer 19th Sept from Vanessa Thorpe:
The Weekend is propelled by a jazz-inflected score from Scott Stroman and sharp-witted libretto from Tamsin Collison, the creative team behind Fever Pitch: The Opera. Created in 2020 when laughs were scarce, The Weekend proved to be an ideal tonic for our times.
Broadway World Review: THE WEEKEND, Bloomsbury Theatre, London
by Gary Naylor Sep. 27, 2021
Scott Stroman’s new opera finds humour and pathos in an adaptation of Michael Palin’s satire of middle class, middle aged angst
You have to be very brave (pace Sir Humphrey Appleby) to put on a new opera, a comedy to boot, in a cavernous house on a Sunday evening, but that’s what Highbury Opera Theatre did and, possibly fired by the optimism of Michael Palin’s chartered accountant who so wanted to be a lion tamer, they only pull the damned thing off!
Based on Palin’s 1990s play (but this is very 2020s material), The Weekend takes us into the middle-class home of Stephen Febble, whose life, constructed atop an enormous tower of privilege and entitlement, is falling apart. His daughter is coming to visit with her despised husband (“the son-IN-LAW”) and even more despised dog, it’s their turn to host the village get-together, his best friend has just sold him out in favour of political pole-climbing and an unexpected guest, having just sold his Porsche to buy a yacht, is charming all the women. Cue a Fawltyish trip to the edge of a nervous breakdown.