The ‘CrOC’ has landed at Port Eliot Festival!

The Reptilian Theatre Company has now established their new base in Cornwall and are excited to announce the first in a series of audience development activities starting with a sextet performance at Port Eliot Festival on the weekend of the its final hurrah!

This will introduce a revolutionary new Opera Buffa: ‘The Crocodile of Old Kang Pow’ through a series of pop up events across the weekend that will include a monkey driven mobile barrel organ, a bi-pedal crocodile God sword fighting the Marquis de Sade with a fish, and the incredible vocal fireworks of soprano coloratura singing of this dramatic and ground-breaking Opera.

The players will be dressed in flamboyant period costumes and make a significant impact on the audiences as they swagger across the Festival site.

In case you were wondering what Opera Buffa might be. It can described thus… Italian for comic opera. It hales from Naples in the first part of the 18C and its accessibility in the language used meant it could be understood by the masses and its popularity grew rapidly, extending its reach in Rome and the rest of Italy. Thus, creating a new genre in the art form.

Opera buffa was intended to be entertainment for the commoner and will titillate with a risqué feel unlike its more serious big brother, with humour and word play much like a familiar western comedy.

Lady Eliot said, “We feel it is the natural progression of the residency to showcase aspects of the Opera at the final Port Eliot Festival and very much look forward to seeing elements of The Crocodile of Old Kang Pow over the weekend.”

The Crocodile of Old Kang Pow began life as an amusing rhyming couplet about the Marquis de Sade which was then set to a new score but 18th Century in style.

This introduced an entire cast of flamboyant historical characters connected to the Marquis. Researching these characters brought to life this operatic performance piece.

Darren Berry said, “Wishing very much for The CroC’s scaly operatic presence to be felt at the festival we thought it an excellent idea for us to ‘Pop-up’ around the site and give audiences a taste of what the show is. The scene we’ve chosen is a fairly epic sextet that best encapsulates the absurdity and irreverent humour of the piece; slapping a man with a fish is always going to elicit a chuckle from someone”

Darren, who is the creative mastermind behind this new opera is a multi-instrumentalist and composer. His fascination with music and dance manifested itself early in his life. He began his musical studies at the age of five. However, it was the formal training he received with the Royal Ballet as a classical dancer that was to shape his life over his formative years. His first major show was Verdi’s Falstaff at the Royal Opera House and only after years of touring with ballet companies dancing, did he switch careers to follow music.

This activity is part of the developing arts and culture programme at Port Eliot that will include Theatre, Dance, Music Gastro Food and Literary events. There will also be a strand that offers engaging projects and events developed for young people.

It is clear that creating a space for the Arts to flourish is a very important strand of Port Eliot House and Gardens future. In keeping with the tradition of the Port Eliot’s creative history, artistic excellence continues to be a priority.

The best way to stay in touch with the progress of this emerging cultural offering is via social media. Information on how you can get involved and any performance will be released on the Port Eliot Website -

Watch this space...


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Darren has written and released records as part of a band and also as a solo artist. He has scored music for television and film and his work includes the HBO series Art-land, Channel 4’s the Turner Prize, along with installations at the Tate modern. He writes songs with and for other artists, winning a Grammy for the eponymously titled “La Roux” album. He plays violin with the acclaimed ‘Penguin Cafe ’, and legendary ska band ‘The Trojans’, and collaborates with Razor-light’s Johnny Borrell on his ‘Zazou’ project, as string arranger, backing singer and percussionist.

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About Port Eliot House and Gardens

The House at Port Eliot has been lived in for over 1000 years and believed to be the oldest continually inhabited d+welling in the UK. The earliest written reference to Port Eliot is from the 5th century AD, Augustinian monks were there from the year 937, while the earliest remaining evidence of a dwelling on the site is a 1500-year-old glazed tiled floor, dating from the late Iron Age. In the 18th century, Sir John Soane remodeled the Grade I-listed priory and house and landscape gardener Humphrey Repton created the gardens and park. Port Eliot is full of the accumulated treasures of its long history, from works by Sir Joshua Reynolds and Van Dyck to a mural by South West England’s most celebrated 20th century artist, Robert Lenkiewicz.

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