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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

Comedy: The Kransky Sisters

The Kransky Sisters tea towel, originally uploaded by Paul-in-London.

I went to see the Kransky Sisters Tuesday evening at the Leicester Square theatre and all I got was a lousy tea towel. Well actually... Being a boy from Brisbane I couldn't resist the cultural references. I'm sure growing up I saw that sign countless times on those long (and driving anywhere in Brisbane was long) family drives to dams. Of course you don't have to be from Brisbane to get their weird act, it only helps at the margins... Such as I saw the show with Stephen who is from Glasgow, and I had to explain that it was Wivenhoe Dam not Wife and Hoe Dam. He's going to Australia in a few weeks for a holiday so I figured the Kransky's were a good way to get him used to the place.

The Kransky's act starts with a montage of photos to take the audience on a journey to the place where they are from... Esk to be precisely (which is best described as a few hours west of Brisbane rather than a leisurly drive from the city centre). I had been there so the photos were not necessary, but they paint a vivid picture: steaks that cover a plate, dust, shops with unusual signs, more dust, dead kangaroos and still more dust. The Kransky Sisters then appear on stage and tell their story how they are sisters who listen to the wireless and hear popular music. Using a reed keyboard, musical saw, tuba and guitar they perform their interpretations of these songs.

I first saw the Kransky's back in Brisbane in 2002 and thought they were fantastic then and they have got better and weirder since. They are wonderful characters full of disturbing traits (including long silent pauses and creepy stares at men they fancy in the audience) that will surely remind you of your great aunt... Or maybe that is just if your great aunt is from South East Queensland. Of course they are also great musicians and singers too and their hilarious show is running through to October 12 before they head off to Europe. Not to be missed if you like that creepy sort of thing... It's worth staying to get a tea towell signed too... If you can handle their act up close... Just don't mention you're from Brisbane...

From a safe distance, more of their act can be seen on Youtube:

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