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Candide in London

Menier Chocolate Factory

Menier Chocolate Factory

Judith and I are in ecstasy. Sparkling sunshine this morning (after dismal yesterday), so we hurried off to the Menier Chocolate Factory (it’s a theatre) to try for returns for Leonard Bernstein’s Candide. This musical has had a very checkered history, subjected to revision after revision, but it happens to be very dear to Judith’s heart. She played the record of what was probably the first version over and over. After I met her, she used to love to cry out at odd times “I’m so easily aseeemilated! Por favor! Toreador!”, the Old Lady’s song. We saw a COC version a long time ago. The music was wonderful, but the staging with stodgy (as I faintly recall).

This production was breathtaking. It was done just the way we like theatre to be: in the round, popping out from everywhere, full of surprises, with unflagging wit and energy. Everyone sang beautifully, the choral harmonies were luscious, and Scarlett Strallen’s (Cunegonde’s) coloratura truly show-stopping. Candide can be a hard show to make work, folks! But this production nailed it. We just may go back.