Sir David Pountney, it appears, has been to Prague. He’s booked himself a mini-break, he’s EasyJetted out, and after (one assumes) necking a couple of pints of unfiltered Pilsner, he’s splurged the entire design budget for Janacek’s The Excursions of Mr Broucek on the loudest tourist tat that the Mala Strana has to offer. Scale it up, pile it on stage; job’s a good ’un. There’s a snow globe and a Lenin candle; there are dinky toy houses and a cardboard pop-up of the Charles Bridge. A massive souvenir plate (badly cracked) hangs over the stage, blazoned with a panorama of Hradcany Hill and the single word – at least two feet high – PRAHA.
The Excursions of Mr Broucek, in case you hadn’t guessed, takes place in Prague, and Leslie Travers’s multicoloured toy shop of a set is one of the more surreal delights of this rare British staging.