Sullivan’s Cox and Box and The Zoo @ Arenbergschouwburg

Cox and Box and The Zoo are both one-act comic operas. Cox and Box was written by Arthur Sullivan 5 years before he started collaborating with W. S. Gilbert; It was a huge success in its time and is relatively frequently performed . The plot revolves around a landlord who rents one room to two people, one who works at night and one who works during the day. When one of them has a day off, they meet with hilarious consequences. The Zoo’s plot is about two pairs of lovers, a nobleman wooing the girl who sells snacks in the zoo and a young chemist who believes he has poisoned his beloved (all commented by the visitors of the zoo).

Volksopera in co-production with Zuidpool gives us a simple but lovely performance. The staging is very scarce. in fact, there is none in Cox and Box, just one or two props, such as the pipe or the pistols; The zoo is a bit livelier with colourful summer clothing and a bit more action. But what made the evening very entertaining was in fact very simple: the singers not only had good voices but were also motivated actors and a dozen instrumentalists performed flawlessly and kept it light and airy. Unfortunately the Arenbergschouwburg in Antwerp was only half full. A missed opportunity for the lovers of the genre seen the overall good quality of the performance.

Stijn Saveniers, Jorgen Cassier, Anne Cambier, Lien Haegeman, Geoffrey Degives, Kris Belligh, Fabrice Pillet, Eloïse Mabille, Naomi Beeldens, Mathis Van Cleynenbreugel, Lars Corijn en tienkoppige ensemble The Tourist Attraction Company (Antwerp, 4/4/17, Picture from Zuidpool.be)