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Belters and bohemians: Opera Locos @Sadlers_wells

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: All Bob's Women

It isn't every time when you go to the theatre that there is a deathly silence at the end of the show... Only to be broken by somebody in the audience sighing and exclaiming, "Well... THAT was interesting..." But such was the case Sunday afternoon at the wake last performance of the musical All Bob's Women. The show opened Tuesday and posted closing notices the next day. Translated from an Italian show that apparently ran in Milan for months, it is billed as a sexy musical comedy. The problem with the show was that it was not sexy, not musical and it wasn't funny. But no point flogging a dead horse. The Evening Standard, The Stage and (most memorably) The Telegraph cover why it is a disaster. I was surprised by little things like:
  • The actors had been rehearsing this show for many weeks
  • Concert-like body mics and deafening sound to match it
  • Half a taxi-cab appearing on stage
  • Some weird woman in the audience who cackled every few minutes (I was half-expecting one of the actors would shout out, "Would you keep it down mum?")
Part of the story involves Bob (played by Samuel Oatley) dressing up as a woman to get to know the secret desires of the women he wants to bed. His drag act and clothes worn reminded me of Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari in Bosom Buddies, which may not have made it to Britain so I have included it above. The rest of the story didn't make much sense so I decided for my own entertainment value to fill in the gaps... Bob was a secret agent working for the enemy to corrupt England's slappers. He would find the most unattractive women and mess with their minds until they sang off-key before moving onto the next one. That worked for me.

Large portions of this play Samuel Oatley was parading around in pants. Which was not bad. After Julian Ovenden in his boxers on Friday, the gays in Clapham Saturday and Oatley in his briefs on Sunday it has been quite a pants weekend. I think that is something I can live with. As for the show... It lives on in Youtube thanks to West End Live (if you can put up with the poor camera work and overbearing sax).

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