Editor's Pick – SF Sorrow

Editor’s Pick– digitalcity Boston

Aida isn’t the only opera in town these days. Over on the other side of town — on Huntington Avenue to be exact — Boston Rock Opera is presenting a production called ‘S. F. Sorrow’ that’s every bit as theatrical and entertaining as it’s more cultural counterpart. It can be seen at the fraction of the cost AND it’s sung in English. S. F. Sorrow, written by the legendary British band The Pretty Things in 1968, is believed to be the first full-length rock opera ever written. It tells the story of a young man whose perfect life takes a turn for the tragic when the woman he loves is killed in a horrible accident. Unable to find peace in his life, he falls under the spell of a ‘shaministic trickster’ named Baron Saturday who leads young Sorrow to the edge of madness and beyond. If you’re waiting for a happy ending you’d better look somewhere else. S. F. Sorrow is a tragic opera and you’ll feel pretty fatalistic by the time it ends: Fatalistic and enormously entertained.

The cast for S. F. Sorrow is very strong, both as singers and as actors. Gene Dante is the narrator of the show and he does a good job of keeping the audience involved in the story being woven by the show’s songs. Linda Bean is equally good as Sally, the girl next door who steals Sorrow’s heart. Mick Maldonado almost steals the show when he storms across the stage as Baron Saturday, and I say almost only because of the great job Peter Moore does in the lead. Moore’s singing voice is strong, but what makes him so fascinating to watch is the way he uses his gangly body to portray everything from the joy of first love to the horrors of war. Director John Whiteside deserves credit along with the cast for keeping all the various elements of the story moving smoothly, no easy task when you’re dealing with a story that starts at the turn of the century and ends in the cosmos. In a wonderful case of making the most of what they have, the BRO transform the bare stage at Mass College of Art’s Tower Auditorium into everything form a rural English factory town to a World War I battlefield through an inventive use of videos and slides. All this and the show is backed by a real rocking’ band. S. F. Sorrow is a dramatic, entertaining night of theater that should not be missed.