Gadaffi at ENO

As a rule, most modern operas are crap. The composers are too frit to write anything with a tune, in case someone accuses them of writing – horrors! – a musical. Some of the people responsible for the book and librettos need shooting too. And it's usually an hour too long.

So while I try to see every production at ENO there are some I avoid. The Silver Tassie was one a couple of years ago. It won an award, but having seeen it on TV, I can say "crap" for all the reasons above. The footballers singing (well, not singing, wailing) "We have triumphed by the odd goal in five" – 'Three – two!!' in English – was a particular lowlight.

So it was with some nervousness that I went along to Gadaffi, A Modern Myth tonight.

But it's fabulous. It's intelligent, it moves along, and the production's great. For once, the book and lyrics are witty, cynical and moving. The music, part orchestra and part Asian Dub Foundation, is danceably good. The on-stage dancing is good. No-one sings very low then very high for no reason. It's dangerous – when was the last time you saw signing and dancing IRA members on stage?

From that description, you could imagine Springtime With Hitler, and in a bad way. But it's as complicated as the character of Gadaffi himself, with both his good points (like the idealism) and the bad on display. It's as good a repost to the braindead musical rubbish like Daddy Cool – The Boney M musical on elsewehere as you could find.

Saturday's the last night. Call the box office and quote 'Metro Offer' at them and a stalls seat is £20, not fifty-something.

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