Opera House, Wellington

22/03/2017 - 22/03/2017

Capital E National Arts Festival

Production Details

Internationally acclaimed Les Grooms present opera for everyone with Un Roi Arthur 

Les Grooms present a riotous operatic romp for young audiences with Un Roi Arthur on Wednesday 22 March, as part of Capital E’s National Arts Festival. 

Les Grooms is a ludicrously entertaining French group who use a playful blend of street theatre, orchestra, opera, brass band and improv to confuse and delight audiences around the world. Genre is irrelevant when you’re laughing along with Les Grooms – they don’t believe in the distinctions between art forms, preferring to blend them all together to create musical mayhem with an exceptional level of talent and skill. 

Les Grooms have played to rapturous audiences in a whopping 34 countries across five continents, including arts festivals the world over, and now they’ll present the New Zealand premiere of Un Roi Arthur in Capital E’s upcoming National Arts Festival. This raucous show tells a legendary tale of King Arthur, but not one you’ll be familiar with.

This unruly ensemble consists of eight musicians plus two singers with no score and no conductor, resulting in faultless comic moments that have had audiences laughing in the aisles. The heroic quest of renegade silliness, saxophones and singers takes audiences on a series of bizarre twists and turns where great operatic interludes alternate with comic moments. 

Festival producer Melanie Hamilton says “it’s exciting to see Les Grooms take Henry Purcell’s King Arthur, which was first performed in 1691, and recreate it for modern audiences. You don’t need to be an opera fan to enjoy Un Roi Arthur at our National Arts Festival – this is a witty, refreshing and accessible performance that will charm a variety of audiences.”

Les Grooms are also performing at vibrant street festival CubaDupa on 25 and 26 March, as well as at Auckland Arts Festival on 18 March. 

Un Roi Arthur’s New Zealand premiere
Opera House, Wellington
Wednesday 22 March 2017

This performance is supported by Spedidam. 

For more information or to book tickets to Un Roi Arthur, visit www.capitale.org.nz/portfolioposts/un-roi-arthur   

Theatre , Opera , Musical ,

45 mins

A heroic quest full of traditional silliness, saxophones and singers

Review by Donna Banicevich Gera 23rd Mar 2017

Featured at Wellington’s Opera House, as part of the Capital E National Arts Festival, Un Roi Arthur (King Arthur) is performed by Les Grooms, a visiting theatre troupe from France. The show is a real (once-only) opportunity for a family night out, appealing to children and adults alike, running for 45 minutes.

The performance opens with a full dialogue given in French. What is this? we think. The message is swiftly followed by a second character pushing the first aside and telling us, “My colleague is a bit stupid – he doesn’t speak any English.” The children laugh and the show begins. Everyone is urged to move forward, “into the best seats”.

Two kings. Two wizards. Two sides – but only one kingdom, and a blind princess. Who will win her affections and rule the kingdom? These are the questions. We head off on a comical journey to find out the answers, along the way discovering the diverse talents of these eight playful performers.

Their skill base is clear. They can dance, they can sing, they can perform magic tricks, and they can play musical instruments. They can even have a cup of tea while still playing – without missing a beat. But most of all they can have fun. 

The story is a heroic quest full of traditional silliness, saxophones and singers combining with a bit of rap and a smoke machine to spice things up. These talented actors and musicians perform in pantomime style in faultless precision.

It’s not laughing in the aisles, but if you think you know the story of King Arthur you haven’t seen anything yet.

Bon show!


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