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The Beggar's Opera (1983)

| Crime, Musical
A historical adaptation of John Gay's 18th Century ballad opera, exuberantly performed for BBC television. With its story of a condemned highwayman, it brings to life the greed, lust and ... See full summary »

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A historical adaptation of John Gay's 18th Century ballad opera, exuberantly performed for BBC television. With its story of a condemned highwayman, it brings to life the greed, lust and corruption of low-life London. Written by L. Buis

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Crime | Musical

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Connections

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For fans of the original
3 October 2009 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

This is a really interesting outing which attempts to be naturalistic with a deeply artificial form. I have watched it tens of times because I love the original and I love this version.

As always, MacHeath and Polly are not terribly likable - which is more a fault of changing mores and the script than the acting.

However, everyone else in the cast is brilliant, with the most amazingly chewy performance by Patricia Routledge as Mrs. Peachum. Peachum and Lockit and Lucy and Filch are all very likable. Bob Hoskins does an excellent cameo.

The production values are really high. The costuming is wonderful. The music is lush. The scenery is appropriately grotty and dark.

The meta-ness of the attempt to be natural with it can turn one's head inside out occasionally, particularly with the lovely ending gallop to "Thus I stand like the Turk", which substitutes for a curtain call. All in all, if you like the play, you should really enjoy this TV-made film.


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