If you fancy a trip round the world without having to find your passport, the Theatre Royal is the place for you.

The trip is courtesy of The Opera Group, which brought Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera to Brighton last year.

This time it is Leonard Bernstein's Candide, a jolly romp of an opera based on Voltaire's work of comic genius.

Director John Fulljames says: "Candide is Voltaire's greatest work, a plea for religious and political liberty. He wants a world where everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

"It is very funny as a story and brilliantly fast and furious as an opera, although I think opera is too grand a term for this piece.

"With Bernstein's music it fits that area between opera and the musical. It is immediately accessible and fun for people of all ages."

The show tells the story of young Candide, who is expelled from his home, drafted into the Bulgarian army, brought before the Spanish Inquisition, swindled out of a Mexican fortune, shipwrecked on a desert island and separated time and again from his sweetheart, Cunegonde.

But true love eventually triumphs over adversity.

Fulljames says: "Over the years the show has been written and rewritten constantly. Lillian Hellman was the original librettist but her piece was very anti-McCarthy and firmly set in the Fifties.

"It was constantly updated and Bernstein constantly reshaped it. Our version is by Hugh Wheeler who wrote the scripts for the Stephen Sondheim hits Sweeney Todd and A Little Night Music.

"We play it pretty fast and give it a timeless set and no period costumes. We sing it in English and while it probably isn't suitable for very young children, those of nine or over should enjoy it."

Fulljames comes from an operatic background, having staged several premieres.

He said: "I have cast Candide with trained opera singers and trained actors and there is free movement between the two.

"We aim to be innovative and we do specialise in the physical approach to theatre plus a concentration on high musical standards.

"Candide has never really been a critical smash hit, possibly because of its mix of classical and popular music, and it is full of parodies.

"Everyone will know the glittering overture which is often performed as a separate piece and will also recognise some of the pastiches.

"It is a real one-off piece by a musical genius, great fun to perform and great fun to see. "

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