The Gershwins’ Porgy And Bess: Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park, London

Bess is a big-hearted woman who loves sex and drugs and rock and roll. She’s fallen for a big brute of a man, Crown, who’s going to be her downfall. She gets saved, briefly, by the love of a disabled beggar, Porgy, who devotes his life to reforming and rebuilding her. And then Bess goes down, again, when circumstances test her.

The story of Porgy And Bess could have come straight from the Bible which is, presumably, why George Gershwin decided to set DuBose Heyward’s 1925 novel, Porgy, to music.

Artistic Director Timothy Sheader brings it to life, anew, on his fairytale stage of Regents Park’s Open Air theatre. Melodies, rhythms and keys come from the bimah (It Ain’t Necessarily So could begin the Kol Nidrei service), the jazz den, the gospel tent and the concert hall. Performances are excellent, with Rufus Bonds Jnr as Porgy, in particular, knocking the audience out with his voice, his plaintive shuffles, and his exquisitely felt love for the damned Bess.

Porgy And Bess
Open Air Theatre, Regents Park, London
Until 23 August

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