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Cooking With Puccini - One4Review

Jeffrey Mayhew and Lynsey Tash bring us ‘Cooking with Puccini’ directed by Guy Masterson. Giacomo Puccini is the world’s most popular composer, having written La Boheme, Madame Butterfly, Tosca and Turandot amongst others. He is also known to have been a musical genius, a reputed ‘Casanova’ and culinary wizard. Written as though we are audience members at a live TV interview with Puccini himself, his no holds barred show covers all aspects of his life, mainly fluctuating between the music, his love life and his cooking. He creates or describes the making of five different foods or drinks, the recipes for which are all on the programme. I’ll be trying at least one. Jeffrey Mayhew not only portrays Puccini on stage, but also researched and wrote the piece. Every quote heard is taken from letters and diaries, the wealth of material gleaned from his research is not fully covered in the show.  He has developed his characters with northern accents and although this and the studio setting are fiction you are completely drawn into the illusion.  Mayhew plays the piano sings, answers the probing personal questions, cooks and virtually makes love to every woman in the audience.  His portrayal of the character is totally believable. Lynsey Tash is also within character and totally believable whether she is in her TV presenter’s mode or one of Puccini’s lovers or leading Divas. She gets to utilise her performance skills ranging from comedy to operatic singing. Jenny Frost is the ASM or assistant stage manager in the show. She clears the debris after each bout of cooking and sets up the next requirements as well as actually joining in on an aria. This show is totally enjoyable, whilst being educational and entertaining beautifully written performed and directed. It seems to be getting reasonable audiences, so don’t let the Puccini name scare you away from a show which is a superb piece of theatre. *****

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