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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

Theatre: Parade


Source: www.donmarwarehouse.com

I found myself having a discussion this week with a lady who suggested to me that Parade at the Donmar is the type of music theatre that young men go for. I was thinking about this all last night as I watched this great production. Is there something about (relative) youth that makes one enjoy a music piece about a Jewish factory owner who is accused of raping and murdering a young girl, found guilty and sentenced to death only to have his sentenced commuted but then lynched by an angry mob? Ok so it isn't the happiest night at the theatre but it was so well told, well sung and well staged you didn't mind the lynching and the preaching. You even had to look hard to see the trademark Donmar black brick wall.

Looking around the theatre there was an over-representation of young men there interspersed among the usual Donmar types. The story is based on the true story of Leo Frank and the press frenzy that was whipped up by the case. The show works best when it focusses on the two central characters of Leo and his wife Lucile (played by Bertie Carvel and Lara Pulver). Mind you, there was so much angst, agitation and other odd mannerisms the two expressed throughout the play. Toward the end of the show when the two climb into bed together I couldn't help but think "Eeeeeeeeeewwwwweeewww". It was like watching stick figures on heat and seemed a little forced (and not just because the characters had been apart for a year)...

Anyway, Jason Robert Brown's music is great and Alfred Uhry's book keeps things moving along. So while it is a depressing story, it is still one that is curiously enjoyable. Well if you are a young man perhaps... And it probably helps if you have younger buttocks to withstand those Donmar seats... Act one runs for almost 90 minutes... A cast recording of this production is due out soon and dare I say it is probably worth getting...

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