Opera North’s Cautionary Tales. Square Chapel Centre, Halifax

I was given 2 tickets by the Square Chapel Centre in Halifax and jumped at the chance to see this show

This hour long production by Opera north was an adaptation of Cautionary tales by Hilaire Belloc and was aimed at children aged 5+ and their families. There was a scary start with the singers wearing strange masks and tut tutting at the audience, which I thought could have been quite scary for the youngest children.

This production showcased the amazing voices of 4 of Opera North’s singers who were accompanied by 3 brilliant musicians, (especially the pianist) with each singer taking different roles in each story of naughty children who each met an untimely demise because of their naughty deeds.

Take for example Rebecca who slammed doors (and desk lids in this production) which brought her downfall when the slamming door brought down a huge statue on her head.

Then there was Jim who ran away from his nurse and was then eaten by a lion.

Henry King was the boy who chewed on string which knotted up in his stomach and for this there was no cure. End of Henry

My favourite was lying Matilda who ‘cried wolf’ so many times, phoning the London Fire Brigade until when there was really a fire, no one believed her and she was burnt to a crisp.

My shoulders somehow were quite tense as I left the theatre as it did hold my attention and the attention of the audience and I have thought about it a lot since I saw it last night so it obviously made an impression on me!

I love the cosy venue of the Square Chapel Theatre and was grateful to have been given the opportunity to sample Opera North’s talents but whilst I could appreciate these talents and cleverness of the production, I thought it was rather weird to combine Opera and children’s stories and couldn’t hand on heart say I totally loved it although I have seen reviews by parents who had seen this with their children and both parent and child had enjoyed it greatly.

Perhaps if I had seen Opera as a child, I may have appreciated this more now as an adult and its certainly a good thing to entertain our children with many different types of music and theatre, so for that reason it would be worth a visit to see it when it tours in your area.

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