The Mozart Question - a ★★★★ virtuoso performance

☆★★★★ The Mozart Question
Anyone familiar with Highgate's Upstairs at the Gatehouse will be more accustomed to the sound of tap dancing emanating from the theatre, rather than the classical sounds of a virtuoso violinist.
As part of the Camden Fringe, Simon Reade's adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's book, The Mozart Question is being performed as a one-woman show by actor-musician Olivia Wormald.
Featuring a fashionable gender-swap lead from Paolo to Paola, The Mozart Question tells the story of Poala Levi, a world-famous violinist who is about to play a concert. But she has always refused to play Mozart and declined to explain why. However, after the death of her father, she tells the story of how she became a violinist under the guidance of Benjamin Horowitz - an old man she met playing on a bridge in Venice. As the story unfolds, we become aware that Paola's parents and Horowitz knew each other and had met, and indeed played together in a concentration camp orchestra.
Interestingly, Olivia Wormald performs with a violin which is likely itself to be a holocaust survivor. Made about 1910 and inscribed with a Star of David, the violin provides a tangible connection to the events in the story.
As Paula Levi, Wormald gives an insightful, moving, credible and intensely heartfelt performance as she unpeels the layers of the narrative and cleverly represents all the characters with sensitivity and honesty. She also plays the violin delightfully and deftly weaves excerpts of Vivaldi, Mahler, Fiocco and ultimately Mozart into the piece.
Lata Nobes directs with concise precision and avoids sentimentality but expertly develops the family dynamic and untold history as we ultimately discover the answer to the Mozart question. All in all, this is an elegant jewel of a show – fascinating to watch and gorgeous to listen to.
The Mozart Question
Based on the book by Michael Morpurgo
Adapted for stage by Simon Reade
Performed by Olivia Wormald
Director and Sound Designer Lata Nobes
Producer Lucia Cox
Illustrator Hannah Snaith
Assistant Producer Alistair Silcox

The Mozart Question played at Upstairs at the Gatehouse
as part of The Camden Fringe 2019 13-18 August 2019