Wednesday 11th October 2006 - Young Vic, 66 The Cut, London SE1 8LZ
The stunning newly refurbished Young Vic theatre opens after a two-year closure, with the community opera Tobias and the Angel. Co-written by the theatre’s artistic director David Lan and composer Jonathan Dove, it was originally commissioned for a Birmingham church and first professionally produced by Almeida Opera in 1999.
Over 140 performers of all ages from the surrounding areas of Lambeth and Southwark join a professional cast of 12 singers. In addition to this immense scale, it becomes more than apparent that the theatre has an amazing capacity to house such a huge cast without it becoming overbearing.
This impressive biblical folk-tale is given a superb contemporary resonance which is aided by Dove’s thrillingly beautiful and earthy score. After his Israelite father is blinded by birds, Tobias (played by the sensational Darren Abrahams), guided by angelic stranger Raphael (James Laing), travels to a far-away Ecbatana to reclaim an old debt.
With a celebration of rebirth like this one can only herald the return of the Young Vic and assume that even better shows are likely to come.