Twilight of the Beggars by Mr. James Olsen
– A guest review
World première performances of James Olsen’s opera-drama Twilight of the Beggars were performed on 12. and 13. June 2019 by secondary students of the Deutsche Schule London in Richmond, watched by representatives of the German and Swiss Embassies, John Hobley of the British German Association, (Local) Councillor Penny Frost and REA’s Vice-Chair Helen Baker.
The libretto graphically reworked the 1728 Beggar’s Opera written by John Gay in Douglas House (home of DSL), drawing also on Bertold Brecht’s 1928 transformation The Threepenny Opera. This time MC Heath and his Hackers from Richmond plot to ‘bring down the system’ and win zillions in cryptocurrency. Polly Peachum, daughter of evil boss of Peachum Financial Services, proclaims her love for MC Heath and fights with rival Lucy Lockit on Facebook and Instagram. MC Heath is sentenced to the Young Offenders Institution.
Meanwhile Spivvy is writing the opera script. John Gay (yes) falls in through a time portal, followed shortly by Brecht and his lover Elisabeth. In Act 2 a Statue declares the whole cast condemned to the Pit. Flames flicker and the Thames rises to engulf the world. The Time Traveller (sic) then pardons everyone and sends them all home. Ecstatic applause from proud parents, excited small siblings and passionate Wagnerians alike. A triumph!
Helen Baker, Vice-Chair Richmond in Europe Association