The Grand Old Opera House Hotel

Bravo! Encore! Cheers! Let’s start at the end.

This new play by Isobel McArthur – she of Pride and Prejudice (Sort Of) acclaim – has penned a magnificent homage to the contrasting tropes of opera and the hospitality industry.

Set in a bland, beige high tech hotel called Scomodo, overseen by a dragon boss, which stands on the site of a burned out opera house, we encounter possible ghosts, star crossed lovers, misunderstandings, hopeless devotion, irate guests, a cheating husband, an alcoholic wife, crass vulgarity, malfunctioning technology and heavily stained bed linen.

In the middle of all this is some genuinely glorious singing from Karen Fishwick and Ali Watt as the hotel employees doomed to keep missing each other. The staging designed by Ana Ines Jabares Pita is an anonymous hotel corridor topped by a neon-framed bland hotel room. In and out of this mad maze run a playbook of characters found in hotels and operas. The often ludicrous storylines found in operas are hinted at, as are the overwrought emotions and exaggerated singing.

The cast from the Traverse Theatre Company and Dundee Rep is a master class in versatility, switching effortlessly from character to character, and ending up in their own cod opera singing increasingly absurd banalities. Ann Louise Ross, Barrie Hunter, Laura Lovemore, Betty Valencia, Christina Modestou, Ali Watt, Karen Fishwick – well done, all.

The enthusiastic packed audience at the said it all – Bravo! Encore! Cheers!


On at Traverse Theatre until Sunday 27th August

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