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Scoring a Century – a long-delayed London premiere

29 August, 2019 — By Michael White

BRITISH Youth Opera is a much-lauded route through which a lot of singers just out of college find their way onto the professional stage. And though it tends to ease them in with fairly standard repertoire, it’s doing something decidedly non-standard on Saturday with a piece at the Peacock Theatre, Holborn, called Scoring a Century.

Written by composer David Blake and librettist/stage director Keith Warner, it calls itself “low entertain­ment for highbrows”. And it’s a sort of musical comedy about a mythic couple who sing, dance and otherwise clown their way through the entirety of the 20th century. Impervious to its ups and downs, with no apparent sign of ageing.

Written for performance in America around the time of the millennium, it got scuppered by the crisis of 9/11 (which had wide-reaching consequences for arts planning in the US) and didn’t make it to the stage until a perfor­mance in Birmingham years later. This is its long-delayed London premiere.

• British Youth Opera’s Scoring a Century,7pm, August 31, September 4 and 6, with a shorter programme by the cover cast on the 7th at 1pm. Tickets £10-£48. Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, WC2 2HT, 020 7863 8222,

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