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Polly: The Heartbreak Opera

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A radical, riotous adaptation of an 18th century rom-com, complete with techno, tracksuits and palm trees, is coming to Theatre Deli on Wednesday this week. Polly, John Gay's banned sequel to The Beggar's Opera, is ripped apart in this viciously satirical, unashamedly sexy and very funny, not-quite-musical. A joyous dissection of love, loss and revenge, this is a battle cry for the broken-hearted, with songs inspired by Peaches, Britney and Nina Simone.

Polly was written in the 1720s and was immediately banned for being anti-colonialist and proto-feminist. Marie Hamilton worked with the Sharp Teeth Theatre company to create this radical and riotous adaptation directed by Stephanie Kempson. The opera follows the three brides of Captain Macheath - the lovable rogue from The Beggar's Opera - to the Caribbean, where they wreak their revenge.

It's sad that themes such as slut-shaming, over-inflation of the importance of purity, chastising mothers for working and in the same breath condemning them for not working, and blaming 'the other woman' for men's adulterous behaviour are still relevant today, but it's so good to see this production happen during SheFest.

Despite the topics remaining glaringly pertinent, there were big problems with the text, not least because it's almost 300 years old, so Marie Hamilton holed up in Berlin and 'completely smashed the text apart'.

Marie said, "There's a lot more techno in ours, and Britney and Enrique Iglesias feature more heavily than perhaps John Gay would have expected! We also have a pirate boy band called Blazin' Squid which is definitely not in the original!"

Polly is on at Theatre Deli on Wednesday 11 March. Tickets on sale now.

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