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Death becomes her: A Brief List Of Everyone Who Died @finborough

For a natural process, death is not a topic that comes up naturally for people. We ask how people are doing but expect the response to be “I’m great”, not “I’m not dead yet”. And so for the main character in A Brief List of Everyone Who Died, Graciela has a death issue. Starting with when she was five and found out only after the matter that her parents had her beloved dog euthanised. So Graciela decides that nobody she loves will die from then on. And so this piece becomes a fruitless attempt at how she spends her life trying to avoid death while it is all around her. It’s currently having its world premiere  at the Finborough Theatre . As the play title suggests, it is a brief list of life moments where death and life intervene for the main character, from the passing of relatives, cancer, suicides, accidents and the loss of parents. Playwright Jacob Marx Rice plots the critical moments of the lives of these characters through their passing or the passing of those around them. Howeve

Brief encounters: La Tragédie de Carmen @popupoperauk

In La Tragédie de Carmen, Popup Opera have a distilled version of Bizet’s Carmen devised by Peter Brook in the early 1980s. The gypsies are gone and all that’s left is the love triangle. And some of the best tunes...

Carmen in some ways can survive being messed about with. The Royal Opera afterall is presenting Carmen in a gorilla suit. Cutting out large chunks of the story and setting it during the Spanish Civil War makes less sense. And in the venue of the Peckham Asylum the sightlines were a bit challenging. But it still works better than expected.

Popup Opera is known for their fresh take on comic operas that tour around the country. But they are on a winner with a more dramatic piece for their autumn season. It doesn’t mess about getting to the best arias. And it helps they’ve assembled a youthful and impressive quartet to bring out the passion.

Chloe Latchmore dazzles as Carmen, using her body and her voice as the seductive and sensual woman. She holds your attention with her clear and strong vocals.

Indonesian tenor Satriya Krisna is just as imposing as Don Jose. Escamillo is an officer haunted by the war here and played by a mildly heroic James Corrigan. Rounding out the cast is Alice Privett as a strong and feisty Micaëla.

Piano accompaniment is by regular Popup Opera music director Berrak Dyer, makes it seem like you’re hearing a full orchestra, bringing out all the subtleties of Bizet’s score.

The moody lighting and projections work well in the Asylum Chapel. The location is an astonishing relic in the heart of Peckham. Even if those who sat further back missed out on some of the drama, the venue made up with it with its chilly atmosphere. Other venues the production tours to may offer better sightlines but I suspect they won’t offer better ambiance.

Directed by John Wilkie, La Tragédie de Carmen plays at various locations until 23 November. Check their website for details.


Photos by Ugo Soffientini

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