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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: Over There



Saturday evening I caught Over There, which is a short play having a short run at the Royal Court. The play by Mark Ravenhill, is an interesting enough premise. It is about identical twins separated when their mother flees with one of them to the west. Following the fall of East Germany they meet again. What then takes place is exploring the differences between two ways of life with a smattering of food play and matching underwear thrown in for good measure.

The battle of ideas, socialism versus capitalism and consumerism are brought to the fore and the acting by Harry Treadaway and Luke Treadaway was excellent. Actually at times you did feel for them as the play became more and more harrowing and they had to do weirder and weirder stuff in their matching underwear. I also wondered whether the play could have benefited from more creative direction and imaginative lighting. At times it also felt like it was revisiting the "shock and awe" of Shopping and Fucking. But I guess that at a running length of 65 minutes we can't have everything.

This is part of a series of plays to commemorate 20 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall and runs until later this month. Here's hoping that there are more of these short plays in future. It is great stuff and even if you don't entirely get the matching underwear and food smears, it can be over before you have to think too much about it...

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