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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: Lord of the Rings (finally)

Lord of the Rings, originally uploaded by Anika :).

As I suspected... There is a photo on flickr posted by someone who sat in a similar seat as I did when they saw Lord of the Rings - the overproduced, spectacular (bit like Wicked) but woefully acted (unlike Wicked) musical on stage spectacular that is playing at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane until mid July.

Arriving at the theatre Wednesday night, It was quite a sight to be greeted with hobbits playing around. But more intriguing was the scene that was unfolding right behind me. An usher, after telling an old Italian woman that she could not take photos, wanted to confiscate the camera and return it to her after the show after he caught her taking another photo. She was having none of that and so someone more senior was called and harsh words including "breach of copyright" and "£20,000 fine". The woman didn't speak much English and as the show started and the harsh words continued, I started asking around how do you say, "For Chrissske give the usher the fucking camera" but nobody knew Italian... In the end it wasn't necessary as the argument resolved itself before Bilbo disappeared so everyone around was grateful and could get on with watching the show. Still... the internet has many more breaches of copyright online as this photo attests... And obviously many are a lot sneakier around the ushers...

As for the show... Well it has been reviewed to death... It was lovely to look at and technically quite clever... But I found most of the performances to be lacking anything other than shouting and big gestures. It lacked any heart or any interest in the majority of characters. Special mention has to go to the role of Galadriel who had me in hysterics with her grand gestures and unusual way of speaking that made me wonder if the character had been smoking some unusual herbs growing in the Golden Wood.

While music features throughout, it isn't really a musical. Actually it is hard to tell what it is. Sometimes it is a bit musical, other times it is a bit drama, even once it gets a bit Cirque du Soleil... All told... a rather expensive production (£12million) that would seem to be more suited at Vegas or arena spectacular than the West End. But since it is only here until 19 July... It is worth a look... Cheap tickets abound right now for it as well...

Best thing were the Orcs... Dressed up in what looked like a combination of leather, rubber, large codpieces and masks, when they started terrorising the audience between acts in the second half you could be forgiven they were out for a night in Vauxhall... Grrrrr indeed....

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