There is an excellent pub theatre in Islington with a longish history - going back to 1970. And I was there last night for Così fan tutte in an enjoyable economical production with piano and no chorus and some good singing. And it was a scant two hours so there were cuts......
The production team was led by Paul Higgins, a busy assistant and revival director around town currently at the ROH but due at Glyndebourne again for the coming season. He made the most of his forces and produced a fresh and greatly enjoyed show in the back room of the pub. He had a splendid music director in Elspeth Wilkes who had clearly prepared the cast supremely well and whose playing provided a really strong musical foundation for the performance.
Standouts were the women with the excellent Fiordiligi, Stephanie Edwards, and the versatile Despina Caroline Kennedy. And Ailsa Mainwaring was a fine Dorabella who has greatly impressed at the Guildhall during her time there. These young people show the depth of talent around and the King's Head, with a tiny budget, did well to engage them.
There was a full house (100 seats?) of Islingtonites mainly as far as one could determine. Clearly the King's Head continues to have a passionate following and it is good that they put on opera - first tried out there, most successfully, in 2010.