The Wolves Descend

In a picturesque Croatian village where the main industry is werewolf tourism, the owners of The House of the Night Bed & Breakfast are facing a decline in their business due to the lack of lycanthropic activity in the neighbourhood. Their solution, obviously, is to start bumping off the guests to drum up further bookings. Can’t fail, right?

Tomo, the hapless fall guy for the natives’ plans, is sent off to the woods to dispatch a recent single female arrival, but of course there is a twist and victim and assailant are soon in each others’ arms.

The Wolves Descend is a chamber opera from the same writing team that last year brought Sanctuary to the Fringe. Fifty minutes of solid vocals from some very talented singers, backed by an impressive seven-piece orchestra; it’s a show that certainly gives bang for your buck.

It’s not without some problems though. The hallmarks of amateur dramatics are a little too obvious, though they could easily be fixed. My tip for the performers is to avoid shuffling from foot to foot or excessive gesturing. If in doubt, stand still with your arms by your side and focus on the person you’re addressing on stage. It’ll work wonders.

The impressive number of instruments were much appreciated, generating a rich and full sound, but this was also a slight drawback in that I had difficulty hearing some of the lyrics. I don’t think it proved to be a problem since the plot wasn’t particularly difficult to follow. These quibbles aside, fans of chamber operas will find much to like here. The powerful voices and strident score make for pretty stirring stuff, even if the ending is a little abrupt.

Reviews by Pete Shaw

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The Blurb

A darkly-comic modern opera satirising today’s obsession with the supernatural. A village becomes a tourist destination for lovers of the macabre. Losing its lure, staff of a guesthouse take extreme measures to keep their blood money flowing...