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Showing posts from January, 2013

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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

Last lingering look at panto 2012: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Wimbledon

New Wimbledon Theatre still offers one of the best pantomime productions with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, with Priscilla Presley as the wicked queen, and a star turn by Jarred Christmas as her henchman. There is no pantomime dame in this show, but there are seven dwarfs headed up by Warwick Davis. It is a good balance of cheap laughs, songs, elaborate costumes and camp dance routines. It is a shame that Priscilla has to wear horns throughout the show as they cover her face and don't make it easy for her too look evil... But then again the show is a sensible two hours and ten minutes so it is a bit hard to get too bothered by this sort of thing as things move along so briskly there is no time for even turning to the programme and getting out the crayons to do a spot of colouring in...  One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" continues to be a popular music selection choice in panto... Here's hoping next year's shows license a few more boy bands

Grey Gardens meets Downton Europorn: People

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Alan Bennett's play People is packing in audiences at the National Theatre . While enjoyable for the performances, design and occasional flash of bare buttocks and thigh, you may find yourself wondering what is the point of it. It isn't funny enough to be a comedy and not insightful enough to satire. But I'm hoping that it is just not a particularly good play rather than a desperate grab at elitism . As surely what National Theatre audiences don't want to do is to look down and feel smug about people that visit places of interest across the country? If anything it is a very mild satire about a run down house that the National Trust is hoping to acquire from aristocrat Dorothy Stacpoole, played by Frances de la Tour. Dorothy was a former fashion model but now is walking around in a moth eaten coat and gym shoes. She sleeps on the floor in front of an electric heater and apart from her companion Iris, does not see many people. Her younger sister who is a respectable

Sketches and wit: Overruled

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 The Wilmington Theatre Company's debut production of three short comic plays by George Bernard Shaw makes for a frightfully witty and enjoyable evening at the Old Red Lion Theatre . The acting and production values are quite high as infidelity, polygamy and morality are all explored. Often with hilarious results. In the first piece, How He Lied To Her Husband , a wife loses poems written for her by her young admirer. They fall into her husband's hands and his response is not quite what the wife or lover expect. It is a three hander that plays well in the confines of the theatre space and with a focussed cast everyone was hooked. Well almost everyone as there was a couple in one corner that may have got carried away with Shaw's attempts to hold a mirror up to nature and were passionately making out. The second piece, Overruled , covers two adulterous couples who are caught in the act on vacation. The source of the comedy here is the honesty of each of the couple'