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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: The Shallow End

The Shallow End currently playing at the Southwark Playhouse is an opportunity to revisit this satire on British media with recent events of phone hacking, arrests, resignations and enquiries in mind.

The play is set at the wedding of a media mogul's daughter, who has just brought a broadsheet newspaper and it about to take it downmarket. During the celebrations the axe is about to be weilded on the old guard as debates about about the future of a newspaper in the digital age.

Playwright Doug Lucie notes in the promotion materials that the play was originally attacked when it premiered in 1997 as being hysterical and inaccurate. He notes today that the work probably doesn't go far enough with what is known now about the business. Drug use, sex and coarse language abound in this work. What is missing is the entrenched corruption and cosy relationships between the press, politicians and police. And the public's insatiable appetite for buying news of triviality, or selling stories about C-list celebs to the papers in the first place... Perhaps that is for another play...

Presented as a series of unrelated scenes, it does feel a little disjointed and overlong as a piece. And it would have been fun to have cast the characters to resemble the current crop of News International players. But it is quite fun to watch nevertheless and fascinating piece to revisit. It runs until 3 March.

Audioboo reaction with @Johnnyfoxlondon and Adrian from Melbourne Australia follows...

Shallow Boo: the Shallow end (mp3)


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