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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

It's a wonderful life: The Me Plays @ORLTheatre

Growing up in Wembley seems like fun in Andrew Maddock's The Me Plays, currently showing at The Old Red Lion Theatre. 

Two forty-five minute monologues delivered by Maddock present a semi-autobiographical look at his life growing up there.

Male body image, internet pornography, Catholic schools, surgical procedures are all covered in this brutally honest account. The cleverness in the work is its frankness and his matter of fact delivery, which makes for a fascinating evening that will linger with you after leaving the show.

The first piece, Junkie, looks at how the internet and the bombardment with constant information and potential suitors has transformed the dating game. It helps if you are familiar with the mobile application Tinder (nowadays dates are not arranged on a computer that would be so old fashioned) and how connections are based on mutual likes. But the piece shows how fleeting and superficial the modern dating world can be, the efforts taken to hook up that can be abandoned on a whim. 

His second and darker piece, Hi Life, I Win, sees Maddock waiting on the results of biopsy and looking back on his teenage years, and how events can change your life. It is a unique perspective on universal themes of loneliness, isolation and fears in a smart looking production that deserves to be seen.

Maddock’s training and previous work has been with the Playing Up programme - which gives young people who are not in education, employment or training a chance to take part in the National Youth Theatre. The entire run of performances will also offer £6 tickets to selected groups in the Brent and Islington area working with young people who are not in education, work or training.

It runs through until September 20.


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