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Grief and fluff: Tiger @OmnibusTheatre

Death is something we all will face. After all, nobody gets out of here alive. But how do you get past it when grief is all you can feel? And this is the premise of Tiger, currently playing at Omnibus Theatre . It's a fascinating exploration of the stages of grief. And with a terrific cast to take you on this journey, it's an endearing and sweet story that has you engaged from the start, wondering what will happen next.  We are introduced to Alice (Poppy Allen-Quarmby) as she gives a stand-up routine. It's not particularly funny and starts to veer into the topic of dying. Something isn't right. She used to be good at this but can't move forward. Soon, she is back in her London apartment with her partner Oli (Luke Nunn), discussing that they need to get a lodger to make ends meet.  Oli is a doctor working night shifts at the local NHS hospital. Alice is not ready to face a return to stand up or anything. So when the first potential lodger arrives (Meg Lewis), looking

Opera: Finding Butterfly

The trend of theatre companies to take classic operas and find new perspectives on them continues with The Wedding Collective's latest production of Finding Butterfly. Produced in association with Soho Theatre, Finding Butterfly is a deconstruction and re-imagining of Puccini's Madame Butterfly set in a hospital. Rather than beautiful Japanese screens and gardens, we have Butterfly institutionalised and believing her American soldier will return while doctors and other patients know otherwise. The story of the opera is then told in flashbacks and fragments. It is quite an ingenious concept that is only let down from time to time from some over-staged dramatics and a booming clavinova accompaniment. Both tend to distract you from the sensuality and fine singing that is taking place almost in your lap...

In this pared down work, the piece is at its most exciting when the performers playing Suzuki, Butterfly and Pinkerton are on stage, and this production emphasises their roles. All three performers sang with strength and clarity that gives emotional intensity to this interpretation. Suzuki is a nurse at the hospital rather than a servant and played by Japanese mezzo soprano Megumi Shiozaki. Cio Cio San was played by feisty Li Li and Joe Morgan plays the role of Pinkerton. The wedding night duet is re imagined in bed with Pinkerton in loose boxers and Cio Cio San in a flimsy slip. There is no full frontal nudity (after all it isn't the Royal Opera), but leaving things to the imagination makes for as just an equally satisfying piece, particularly when the duet is sung so close to the audience and with such tenderness.

These days it seems as if staging a production in a theatre is rather passé, and anything from a septic tank to an abandoned office block is is a preferred performance space. But Limehouse Town Hall, with its grimy peeling paint, flooded bathrooms and general decay creates a perfect atmosphere for a clinical, alienating hospital. Here's hoping that if the venue isn't demolished at some point a future refurbishment includes the purchase of a piano. All told it is hard not to like a production that takes a fresh look on reinterpreting a classic and mixes it with some excellent performances.

Finding Butterfly runs until 20 October and there are good discounts available from the usual outlets. It deserves a future outing as well so keep an eye out for future productions.

Post show Audioboo on busy Commercial Road follows...

listen to ‘Butterfly boo: Finding Butterfly’ on Audioboo

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