How the adaptation came about

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Nigel discovered the Beggar's Opera (John Gay's original 1728 version) while looking for a suitable show to put on at University.  It had everything a show should have - vice, corruption, sex and violence - 'all those things that are near and dear to our hearts' (according to the introduction to that other show about low-life and corruption, Chicago).

Of course, presenting it in its 1728 form wouldn't really appeal to the audiences of today, so he adapted the libretto and staged it in modern dress.  The show is full of villains - thieves, pickpockets, fences, corrupt jailers, ladies of the night - in fact all the parts that actors really love to play!  

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The show itself was originally intended as a political satire highlighting the corruption and vice in all levels of society - especially politicians and lawyers.  Nothing seems to have changed since the eighteenth century!   Which is why the show is ageless.  When Nigel put on his first version back at college, the Watergate scandal had just broken, and it was easy to insert appropriate references that brought the piece right up to date.  In fact, it's just as easy to do the same thing today, and that's what makes the piece relevant to whichever period it's set in.


In 1928, Kurt Weill and Berthold Brecht decided to have their say on the original, and created the Threepenny Opera, which became world famous in its own right (you must recognise the song, 'Mac the Knife'!)

Nigel's second brush with the Beggar's Opera came in a production of the comedy, A Chorus of Disapproval (by Alan Ayckbourn), which uses the staging of the Beggar's Opera as a background for the machinations and manoevrings of a small amateur theatre company.  As the only person who knew anything about the original Beggar's Opera, Nigel was asked to arrange the music for the show.  And it was this that spurred him to write his own adaptation, using the music of Sir Arthur Sullivan as the vehicle to carry the song lyrics, and called The Savoy Beggar's Opera.

The version was due to be put on in 2012 by the Concept Players, an award-winning theatre company based in South East Wales, but the time allocated for rehearsal proved too limited to allow justice to be done to the show, so the production was cancelled.

Rather than waste the opportunity afforded by the cancelled rehearsals, Nigel decided to write another version of the show - this time using original music, but in a rock/pop genre.  To assist in this he called on the resources of his fellow band members in Perfect Recall, and The Beggar's Rock Opera is the result.

© Katisha Ltd 2013