London Coliseum

St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES GB

Porgy and Bess - ENO

Porgy and Bess - ENO Tickets

based on 3 reviews

London Coliseum

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When George and Ira Gershwin wrote Porgy and Bess, based on the 1925 novel by DuBose Heyward, they probably didn't realise it was eventually going to be such a massive hit. Now it's back, an endlessly popular musical with a dark heart, for the first time staged by the English National Opera. This is a powerful and moving production with James Robinson at the helm, directing in his ENO debut.

It's no sweet fairytale, although Porgy and Bess is a love story. It tells the story of Porgy, a disabled black street-beggar in the Charleston slums, and his attempts to rescue the lovely Bess from Crown, her violent lover, and her cocaine dealer Sportin' Life. 

Bess’s love for Porgy saves her from her dark past. But at the same time old habits are powerful things, hard to beat. When Crown turns up again, Porgy wonders whether Bess will be able to resist, and finally save herself. In a musical exploring the relationships in a close-knit community in 1920s South Carolina, it's as raw and painful as ever.

More than 80 years after its premiere, ENO is staging the show with a huge cast, including a magical forty voice chorus created specially for this production, plus a full orchestra. All this is due to make an already special show even more so, because Porgy and Bess is stacked with some of the most deliciously soulful, unforgettable show tunes on earth, including the international legend of a song, Summertime.

Jazz, ragtime and blues are your fare for the performance, blended with heart-warming and heart-breaking spirituals. Conductor John Wilson also makes his ENO debut, as does the the Artistic Director of Opera St Louis.

The cast is led by the awesome Eric Greene as Porgy and Nicole Cabell as Bess. Nmon Ford plays the role of crown and Latonia Moore, who played an extraordinary Aida for ENO, returns to portray Serena. Our very own home-grown British soprano Nadine Benjamin plays Clara, and the respected tenor singer Frederick Ballentine enjoys his UK debut as the dealer, Sportin' Life.

The musical is sung in English, at the London Coliseum, with subtitles projected above the stage for everyone to enjoy.

Who is this show for?
Porgy and Bess tells the tragic love story of the crippled beggar Porgy and the lovely Bess, a cocaine addict and whore who is desperate to change her life for the better. As such it isn't really a show for children, but perfect for teens upwards. Children under five won't be admitted.

Customer Reviews

What to expect:






Recommended for:


based on 3 reviews

P and B Brilliant

The show was brilliant and the cast 1st class. Unfortunately due to weather conditions we missed the first 10 mins. We were taken downstairs to see it on a tv and told that we would be taken to our floor after 10 mins and be shown to our seats in the interval. Once upstairs we were informed that we would be standing for about an hour and 10 mins which we found horrendous had we known that we would be standing for this long it would have been better to leave us where we were and bring us up when the interval started. Although there were a couple of occasions when the stewards could have seated us this was not implemented. I know that it can be frustrating when those who are fortunate to have seated on time and someone comes in late and you have to get up to let them through and you get the tuts and shushes but there were at least 3 occasions when the screen was down and the orchestra were playing that we could have been seated by the stewards. I can honestly say that I did not find at least 2 of the stewards helpful. I think that the policy should be flexible on these occasions when stewards can be more accommodating to assist customers to their seats. We did find that there was one particular male steward who was quite sarcastic unfortunately we did not get his name otherwise he would definitely have been mentioned All in all a thoroughly enjoyable prrformance

London Box Office customer

P & B

The plot set in the mid 1930s is a little outdated and the scenery not very inspiring. Ensure your sight, particularly if corrected, is good for reading the surtitles (although these are not always exactly what is being sung).

London Box Office customer

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Theatre Address

London Coliseum
St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES GB

London Coliseum - Theatre Address

travel info


  • Air conditioned
  • Bar
  • Infrared hearing loop
  • Toilets
  • Wheelchair/scooter access

Theatre Info

  • Capacity: 2358
  • Year built: 1904