The Last Hotel
The Lyceum Theatre
10th – 12th August
£12 – £35
Welcome to the newest operatic offering of Enda Welsh, a truly great addition to the great tradition. While waiting for the performance to begin, listening to the twelve piece Crash Ensemble warm up and tune in, gently ear-wigging into the light conversations being mumbled throughout the house; I am awe stricken by the elaborate and decadent interior of the Lyceum Theatre. Composer, Donnacha Dennehey, was inspired for this opera by a true story of a woman who took her own life in 2002, seemingly assisted to her death by an American couple; with whom the woman had been seen sharing drinks and laughs with at a hotel bar, a day or so prior to her body being discovered.
The Crash Ensemble, conducted by Andre de Ridder, perform sounds of an emotional entanglement, set to heighten your anthropological intrigue, creating moods of fearfulness, resentment, both hope and hopelessness, enlightenment, desperation, a deep longing; to be loved and to be at peace within oneself – which you will witness being shared between the characters within the escapade libretto of playwright Enda Walsh. The ordinary lives of a gas-fitter, Robin Adams, and his humble and deeply unsatisfied and seemingly depressed wife, Katherine Manley, experience a very unusual liaison with a highly neurotic mother, Claudia Boyle, who has become despaired by her unfaithful husband, along with her unpleasant and unforgiving children, while simultaneously being forced to maintain her false image of perfection within her role of employment.
The abandoned hotel, maintained by a friendless and slightly obsessive compulsive character; played silently by the rather funny, Mike Murfi, is the perfect set to bring these perturbing relationships to reality, and alludes to the sinister nature of the narrative before the music reinforces such a fact. The set design of The Last Hotel is contemporary, open planned and allows for multiple scenes to be concurrently performed without any set alteration or drop of a curtain throughout the entire duration. The lyrics are bellowed in a fully traditional operatic style, but to pull the audience into a modern dimension and to perfectly accommodate for people whom may be hard of hearing, subtitles are displayed so not a single word shall be missed.
Personally, I feel this performance hit the top of it’s game at every level when dissected. But somehow, my conclusion of these parts when assembled in unity, just didn’t hit the emotional notes I was expecting, before I took to my seat. For me, sometimes less simply is just more. Nevertheless an easy FOUR STARS