Puccini's La bohème is an operatic best seller, ranking with Madama Butterfly as the most frequently performed opera today. In spite of its popularity it is, in its own way, revolutionary, taking the spotlight off the kings, queens, warriors and heroes of nineteenth-century opera to focus on more realistic subjects. It's the story of a group of young friends - a poet, a writer, a composer and an artist - living in poverty but believing in love. Romance blossoms between the poet Rodolfo and seamstress Mimì, inspiring some of the most touching music ever written. In Gale Edward's new production, the influences of Hollywood can be seen in its undeniable glamour, but the impending doom of a world on the brink of disaster also gives it a fragile quality. Here, the glitter of the Spiegeltent provides a decadent veneer over the hand-to-mouth existence of the era. Café Momus becomes a cabaret joint, all mirrored panels and carnival colours, populated by characters inspired by the paintings of Otto Dix and George Grosz.