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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

Projections and doing time: Time Is Love @Finborough

If there is hell on earth, it just might be in Los Angeles. The city is full of petty crime, bored lap dancers and the cops who after putting you away end up sleeping with your wife. Chè Walker’s play which is having its European premiere at the Finborough Theatre is often difficult to follow. It’s set in the last remaining barrios of East Los Angeles. Perhaps the central message is that even when a cop sleeps with your wife, no amount of revenge sex will make it better. But the produciton has assembled a great cast to tell the tale of bored friends and acquaintances who use sex and anger to pass the time.

Benjamin Cawley and Gabriel Akuwudike establish a fascinating bromance as the petty criminals and longtime pals, Karl and Blaz. Karl leaves him to take the fall for a botched robbery. Three years later out of jail, nothing for Blaz seems right. Sheila Atim is mesmerising as the weary lap-dancer Rosa. And there’s a great scene with Sasha Frost the sex worker and ex school mate of Blaz who talks him out of sex without offering a refund. Time is money after all.

It’s a simple production with a series of projections used to depict the change in time, place and mood. Too bad they often distract from the performances on stage. A meditation on love, betrayal and revenge sex.

Written and directed by Chè Walker, Time is Love is at the Finborough Theatre until 26 January.

⭐️⭐️⭐️


Photos by DWGH photos

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