A Busker’s Opera

Leo Burtin and Ali Matthews came to Sale Waterside on 10 March with Best of Both Worlds; a Buskers Opera.  Funnily enough the last time I was in this space was for Leo’s Midnight Soup.  It’s good to be back.

I’m still not sure why I love this show so much.  The premise is simple.  Ali is the privileged individualistic American, Leo the family oriented, rural Frenchman; they meet in the middle both geographically and socially.  Is the UK the best of both worlds?  Or the worst?  Using a clever mix of French music hall, set piece audience interaction, personal stories and transactional games, the two set out to question what exactly are our values at this moment?

It is a clever piece.  The performance elements are interesting, fun, musical (of course), at times tongue in cheek, sometimes reflective, sometimes self parody.  But underneath there are deeper issues that show through.  Questions about how we treat people, and how we expect to be treated.  What happens when we fail?  Leo and Ali make an interesting double act, because although they set out to be very different at first, they seem to come closer towards the end.  Not so much meeting in the middle as moving forward together.

It’s an entertaining and engrossing show that passes very quickly, but also highly thought provoking.  And if you love classic French songs, that’s a bonus.

Waterside Arts Centre has an interesting, mixed programme of events, details here.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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