a quirky look at London Life

Bukowski’s Cass @ VAULT Festival

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By Opera Viscera  


“Cass was a spirit stuck in a form that would not hold her”- Charles Bukowski. 


After its sold-out production of Narcissus and Echo at OPEN Ealing, Opera Viscera now present this American story of nature, destruction & beauty by Charles Bukowski at VAULT Festival. 


From Bukowski’s short story, The Most Beautiful Woman In Town, Cass, 19, gives herself away without care, soaring to stunning, self-destroying summits. Her reflection threatens to overpower her, like the wind her motion never stops and she cannot hide because her breath moves nature.


Opera Viscera transforms Cass into music. Between concert performance, story telling and dance, this unusual ensemble evokes a dangerous but irresistible figure, inviting the audience to be intimate with her, contemplating beauty and its power over our contemporary perversions.”

Ursula O’Reilly Traynor‘s insight:

On Tuesday night, Opera Viscera presented a very underground interpretative dance and spoken word version of Charles Bukowski’s masterpiece Cass in the underground space of Waterloo’s Vaults.


Just to be there was theatre, in the beautiful, cavernous spaces – magically underground – the feeling and sound and shake of trains overhead, the peeling back of masonry, the bare brick and the psychedelic lighting and in this production in The Cage, I became part of a most seductive rendition of a sad and sexy story – the tragedy of Cass.


The ensemble playing was superb with a haunting musical combo and swaying siren bar waitresses and a Lady Gaga D.J.; all this led to enchantment.

However the two principals, Cass and her lover were hopelessly miscast – the acting was good, but Kitty Dalton as Cass looked like a quite decent grammar school girl pretending to be bad and the script (from the Bukowski story) described her lover as “ugly” and that self-recognised ugliness is/was an important part of this autobiographical story, so why have that part played by a handsome hunk?
It would have been easier to have changed the (adapted) script.

However, the evening was charming and I would have been happy to stay for a second act, maybe another story, maybe an Opera Viscera interpretation of a sequence of poems, maybe even Howl!

Shaun Traynor

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