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Love is all you need: The Island @cervantesthtr

A drama set on the seventh floor of a non-descript hospital waiting room may not be everyone's idea of a great night at the theatre. But love and all other forms of the human condition are dissected in Juan Carlos Rubio's The Island. Translated by Tim Gutteridge, it feels like everything is up for grabs. What is love? Is it a bond between two women with a fifteen-year age gap? Is it the love between a mother and her son with a severe unknown disability? A wonderful life full of health and happiness is not always an option on the menu, and the choices may become a bit less palatable. Throughout a series of sometimes banal conversations, what comes out is a story of two women with lives that are separate and together. And while the piece becomes darker on one level as it progresses, it never ceases to fascinate and draw further insights into the couples. It's currently playing at the Cervantes Theatre .  A couple waits in a hospital waiting room for the outcome of an accident

Opera: Troy Boy

Thursday night I caught the Merry Opera's new production of Troy Boy at Upstairs at the Gatehouse. The Merry Opera company takes opera productions and develops new English translations with a twist. It is a great concept, although in this case more abridging of the source material might have helped. I doubt there is much that would be missed from Offenbach's La Belle Hélène (the story of Helen of Troy) if an extra half hour was cut from it.

Nevertheless there is some fine singing and performances in this occasionally sexy production. The energy and enthusiasm of the cast is without a doubt. I liked the concept of Helen stuck in suburbia and beginning to let her mind wander in a Greek restaurant. It  gives this otherwise odd premise some solid grounding. There were (at least on Thursday night) a few creaky moments with furniture bumped and props knocked over, but no doubt these will be ironed out as the run progresses.

And this is such great value for a night out, with tickets from £12. It plays at the Gatehouse until 5 March before touring to various opera pubs and other places. It is nice to see a growing list of opera pub theatre, but the productions work best in these confined spaces when the work is well known, and it is brief.

Boo impressions below...

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