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Belters and bohemians: Opera Locos @Sadlers_wells

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At the start of the Opera Locos performance, the announcement says that they really are singing. You could be forgiven for wondering that, given the amplification turns up the backing track and the voices so loud that you can't always tell what's real. But this is a mostly harmless and slightly eccentric blend of opera classics fused with the occasional pop classic. However, recognising the pop tunes would help if you were over a certain age. The most recent of them dates back twenty years. It's currently playing at the Peacock Theatre .  Five performers play out a variety of archetype opera characters. There's the worn-out tenor (Jesús Álvarez), the macho baritone (Enrique Sánchez-Ramos), the eccentric counter-tenor (Michaël Kone), the dreamy soprano (María Rey-Joly) and the wild mezzo-soprano (Mayca Teba). Since my singing days, I haven't recognised these types of performers. However, once, I recall a conductor saying he wanted no mezzo-sopranos singing with the s

Movies: Hairspray


"Hairspray" movie poster, originally uploaded by knoopie.

To get over jetlag, I thought that an early session of Hairspray would do the trick. It did. There was so much energy on screen that it was impossible to fall asleep. And besides the prospect of seeing a movie with Michelle Pfieffer singing (and in a conga line), John Travolta dancing as a woman, Queen Latifah as a blond and Christopher Walken as a lovestruck husband was simply too good to sleep through.

All the musical numbers were pretty impressive showstoppers and pulled off with enough homage to John Waters to avoid it being a sanitised version of his original movie. It seemed so appropriate that Waters has a cameo as the flasher in the opening number as well. And while at times the story seems a little earnest, it was clear that the movie had its heart in the right place.

It has already had the biggest weekend opening of a musical, I hope it kicks Grease off its pedestal as the most successful movie musical in the last 30 years. Besides, unlike Olivia the lead Nikki Blonsky didn't need the others to dance around her (despite the bingo wings)... Oh and the music is so much better... Will be interesting to see how the West End production fares when it (finally) opens October this year...

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