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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

Try to say no to this: In The Heights @Intheheightsldn

It's been over a year since In The Heights stormed London. It is back at the Kings Cross Theatre sounding even better than before.

This is a thrilling show directed by Luke Sheppard. It's full of terrific performances, spectacular choreography by Drew McOnie and a pulsating latin, pop and hip-hop-fused musical score by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
With a book by Quiara Alegría Hudes, it is a slice of life from Washington Heights New York during one hot summer. The neighbourhood is changing with rents going up and people moving out. Yet there is hope and someone in the neighbourhood has won the lottery.

The cast includes Sam Mackay in the lead as Usnavi, David Bedella, Josie Benson, a wonderfully hilarious (and fabulously pregnant) Victoria Hamilton-Barritt and former Sugababe Jade Ewen. Broadway star Joe Aaron Reid has also joined the cast as Benny.

It's interesting that in this show yet again finds itself playing in a neighbourhood of significant change (Kings Cross). And as for Washington Heights, in the years since it was written the future of corner stores that feature in the show are even bleaker.

But despite the reality there is so much fun to be had in this piece. It will have you grooving along in your seat or wanting to get up and dance with the cast.

Miranda, who is taking the musical theatre world by storm again with his period musical Hamilton talks about In The Heights in this recent New York Times podcast. He describes how hip hop, musical theatre and the muppets were among the sounds he grew up with... Something we can all relate to...

In The Heights is sharing the Kings Cross Theatre with the Railway Children and so there are some nice touches with the railway station entrance covered in graffiti and New York Subway signs (which no doubt will be removed so they don't confuse the children too much). It is running through to January. Worth catching more than once.



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