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Showing posts from March, 2016

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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

Mister cellophane: If I Were Me @sohotheatre

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Alienation, tennis balls, struggling daffodils, piles of post it notes. It is all part of the surreal world in If I Were Me. The piece is billed as the darker consequences of finding a new version of yourself. Selling a product and selling yourself as a product blur together. If at any point you get lost in the piece, it doesn't really matter. Something weird is going to happen and that will either make you more confused or set you straight.

Great balls of fire: Miss Atomic Bomb @St_JamesTheatre

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A starry cast and some wonderful production values make Miss Atomic Bomb a bit of a treat. It's currently playing for a limited run at the St James Theatre . There is comedy... A bit of drama... Then more comedy and the occasional dropping of a bomb in this piece that focuses on the nuclear tests in Nevada. Oh and there is a beauty pageant to crown Miss Atomic Bomb in an attempt to make a doggy hotel a bit more classy. Much of the source material is based on actual events. There were above ground nuclear tests that were a tourist attraction for Vegas . But what gives this piece its appeal is its star casting and ensemble who are working hard to show us a good time.

Social climbers: The Young Visiters @TabardTheatreUK

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Social climbing in the Victorian period has never seemed so much fun as it is in The Young Visiters. It is a new adaptation of Daisy Ashford's book adapted and directed by Mary Franklin and presented by Rough Haired Pointer . It is a world where ladies are pale owing to the drains in the house. Or where one can say “I had a bath last night so won’t wash much now.”

Mother knows best: Merit @Finborough

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I have a sister so I have witnessed a few mother-daughter conversations over the years. But pehaps none are as odd as those presented here in Merit by Alexandra Wood. It is currently playing at the Finborough Theatre . It's a two hander that explores the growing apart between a mother and daughter. And the growing gulf between the rich and poor. But you are never sure whether the global financial crisis, inequality or just good old fashioned mother-daughter rivalry is what is at play here. It is ambiguous but it is also a compelling study of a parent who wishes her daughter every success. But she'll also be there to take her daughter down a peg or two if she gets too successful...

The fog of war: Correspondence @ORLTheatre

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Boys on Xbox, the crisis unfolding in Syria, a disappearance and a psychotic episode. It all happens in Correspondence, currently playing at the Old Red Lion Theatre . It's at times thrilling but its also a bit bewildering. Flicking through the programme twenty minutes into Correspondence, I read the note about psychotic symptoms. It seemed a little odd as until that point it seemed like this piece was about two boys on Xbox. One who just happened to be in Syria. But soon we're exploring mental illness. There is so much going on here that it is hard for the piece to get focussed on any of its broad themes it's exploring in its ninety minute duration.

Singing out: Alexandra Da Silva @pizzapheasantry

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Alexandra Da Silva returned last week with her show La Petite Divatante at the Pheasantry in Chelsea . For a little lady she has a big voice and the show is an opportunity to show off her musicality. And make a little fun of her height. She sings Part of Your World  from The Little Mermaid with new lyrics by Christina Bianco about being too short to enjoy the sun. But it is her reflective ballads linger with you. Her vocal, which at times has a country feel, gives these pieces extra emotional pull.