SmallStages Tour Autumn 2019

Mrs Peachum’s Guide to Love and Marriage

Join Mrs Peachum and her daughter Polly in a rumbustious tragicomic tale of love, loyalty & London gin.

“The Wench is married! Do you think your father and I should have liv’d comfortably so long together, if ever we had been married? Can you support the expense of a husband, in gaming, drinking and whoring? Have you money enough to carry on the daily quarrels of man and wife about who shall squander most? If you must be married, could you introduce no body into our family but a highwayman?”

Mrs Peacham's Guide to Love & Marriage

After last year’s sellout triumph of A Spanish Hour, MWO’s SmallStages team romps back onto stage with a radical reworking of John Gay’s 1728 ballad opera ‘The Beggar’s Opera’. Join Mrs Peachum, her daughter Polly and The Beggar in their bawdy, ballsy take on relationships and the relative virtues of virginity.

Horrified to learn of Polly’s illicit marriage to an errant highwayman, Mrs P contrives to get the rascal hanged so Polly can claim the reward. Loyalty and love are put to the test as murder, rage and fury drive this rumbustious tragicomedy towards its conclusion. Will things really be left so unhappily and will Polly remain true to her man and abandon her mother to the lure of London Gin?

MWO are delighted to premiere this new one act opera, adapted by Richard Studer, in a new musical version by Jonathan Lyness, accompanied by MWO’s SmallStages Ensemble of four musicians and with a cast of three singers including the brilliant Northern Irish mezzo Carolyn Dobbin in the title role (Madame Popova, The Bear, SmallStages 2017) and Welsh soprano Alys Mererid Roberts as her feckless daughter Polly.

As with John Gay’s original ballad opera, the score is bursting with melodies both familiar and new, from Lillibolero to Greensleeves. MWO’s restoration comedy is filled with as many musical twists as there are in the plot. Though our trio of characters may live in the gutter, musically they are looking to the stars…

After the interval join the team for a medley of delights exploring love and marriage in all its forms – a curtain raiser for our Spring 2020 MainStage tour of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro.


Mrs Peachum – Carolyn Dobbin
Polly Peachum – Alys Mererid Roberts
Filch/Beggar – Johnny Herford


Violin – Nia Bevan
Bassoon – Alexandra Callanan
Percussion – Max Ireland
Piano – Jonathan Lyness


Music: John Gay,
New musical version by Jonathan Lyness

Music Director: Jonathan Lyness
Director/Designer: Richard Studer


Supported by

Nidec Control Techniques
Arts Council of Wales Lottery
Hafren, Newtown
Gwendoline and Margaret Davies Trust

Creative Team

Jonathan Lyness

Music Director

Richard Studer



Carolyn Dobbin

Mrs Peachum


Max Ireland



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