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Showing posts from February, 2019

Immigrants getting the job done: Carmen @KingsHeadThtr

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Carmen can survive being messed about. After all she’s wearing a gorilla suit at the Royal Opera's current production. Here she’s an immigrant working in a bar,selling NHS drugs on the side and picking up footballers to make ends meet. It’s a grittier, funnier take on Bizet’s opera complete with some fine singing. And it’s currently playing at the Kings Head Theatre.

This version by Mary Franklin and Ashley Pearson is like La Tragédie de Carmen, adapted by Peter Brook in the early 1980s. Both dispense with a large ensemble to focus on the love triangle. But in this English version there’s more laughs. Albeit against a grim backdrop of low paid jobs, living out of cars and footballers looking for cheap thrills. You’re never quite sure if you should be laughing or recoiling from the comedy-drama unfolding as the vocals are soaring. But then again comedy is tragedy plus time...

The role of Carmen is shared. I saw it played by American Mezzo Soprano Jane Monari. Her Carmen is a sweet…

Flying away: My Dad's Gap Year @ParkTheatre

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Sometimes you just have to throw in the towel and fly out to Thailand. To hell with the consequences. At first. So is the premise In My Dad's Gap Year. But while some of the plot points might be as suspicious as the sexual antics on stage, there's a lot of heart and great performances in this piece. Written by Tom Wright, it's having its world premiere at Park Theatre.

Dave (Adam Lannon) is having a mid-life crisis. And he drinks too much. His wife Cath (Michelle Collins) has left him and is uptight teenage gay son, William (Alex Britt) is trying to enter the world of work. So what better way to get over it all by heading off to Thailand? Beside's it's supposed to be William's gap year. So why can't dad join in?

Along the way Dave falls for Mae (Victoria Gigante), who runs the bar at the beach. And there's a sexy lifesaver Matias (Max Percy) who is about to open William's eyes to a whole new world.

What at first seems to be a wild funny hedonistic…

Come fly with me: Cuzco @Theatre503

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An acquaintance came back from a holiday in Thailand recently. On his return he announced he was separating from his Spanish girlfriend. As I was watching Cuzco at Theatre 503 I was hoping the end of his affair wasn't anything like this. This is a provocative and fascinating piece about relationships and mind games in the the era of globalised tourism.

We're introduced to this Spanish couple in a bland hotel room in Cuzco. We don't know their names. She (Dilek Rose) is wearing sunglasses as she says she has a migraine. He (Gareth Jones) is wanting to go out and explore the city. But what seems like simple altitude sickness gives way to some more susbstantial. Soon angry politics, a failing relationships and colonisation is the focus of the discussion.

This two hander builds in intensity to an uneasy finale. A trip intended to escape the cracks in their relationship only serves to expand the divide between the two. Both Rose and Jones give an intimate intensity to a couple…