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Threepenny Opera, which opened last night in the Harold Prince Theater, presents fresh challenges in every scene, both for the actors and for the audience. Set in 19th century London, the Bertholt Brecht play attempts to show the dark side of urban existence. In one of the show's best scenes, the prologue cleverly introduced the problems of poverty, theft and corruption by tracing the progress of a coin as it was given to a beggar, stolen by a thief, paid to a prostitute and used to bribe a police officer. The play's grim atmosphere, accentuated by an exquisite backdrop displaying the inner workings of a run-down factory, made it difficult to watch, but some of the performers made the effort worthwhile. College junior Andrea Davis displayed her considerable vocal power and acting talent in the role of Polly Peachum, an ingenue with a tough side. And College senior David Simon did not neglect a single detail in his professional quality portrayal of the seedy Jeremiah Peachum. His walk, his voice and all his mannerisms combined to form a well-rounded character. Also among the show's high points were its three finales, depressing songs in which the entire company delivers richly harmonized sermons on the world's evils. But College junior Eric Morris, who played Mack the Knife, failed to deliver the charisma that his character demanded as the play's central figure. His songs, like many others in the show, were overpowered by the orchestra. Threepenny Opera plays tonight and Saturday at 8 p.m. in the Harold Prince Theater, and continues next weekend. Tickets are $5 and are available on Locust Walk.

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