The Organ

Turn Of The Screen

26th November

At last a Music Theatre presentation which brings together all of the essential elements into a compelling and magnificent whole. After two 'pretty' new productions which paid scant attention to psychological insight here not a moment is lost and not a single visual image slips by without leaving its mark. The vast glass screens, which could as easily be nicotine stained as gold-tinted, dominate the stage and yet as easily create the claustrophobic environment which nurtures neurosis. David McVicar's production is a very uncomfortable experience, and, while it refuses to give us easy answers, highlights the sexual tension flowing beneath the surface.

A key here is George Longworth's Miles. Tall and handsome, he commands the stage when he is on and we sense the struggle within him to balance a desire for childhood innocence with the realisation of adolescence. He keeps tipping from one to the other, terrified at times with Quint yet dominating the Governess and kissing her in an entirely adult way. Nazan Fikret is a fine foil to him as Flora, her relationship with Miss Jessel even more complex than usual.

The cast is drawn from strength with splendid characterisation throughout. Ann Murray may seem an unlikely Mrs Grose but she brings strength and sensitivity to the role, as a positive support to Rebecca Evans' troubled Governess.

Timothy Robinson is a seasoned Britten interpreter and Quint suits him without ever straining for effect.

Costumes and lighting are effortlessly effective, never coming between the singers and the narrative and regularly adding to the intensity of the situation.

Garry Walker makes his small orchestral force sound twice as large and enables all of his instrumental soloists to shine through. Nuances of detail are a constant delight.

Musical values this season have been very high but productions have so far lagged behind. Here at last is the quality we expect of ENO – long may it last.