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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

Come fly with me: Cuzco @Theatre503


An acquaintance came back from a holiday in Thailand recently. On his return he announced he was separating from his Spanish girlfriend. As I was watching Cuzco at Theatre 503 I was hoping the end of his affair wasn't anything like this. This is a provocative and fascinating piece about relationships and mind games in the the era of globalised tourism.

We're introduced to this Spanish couple in a bland hotel room in Cuzco. We don't know their names. She (Dilek Rose) is wearing sunglasses as she says she has a migraine. He (Gareth Jones) is wanting to go out and explore the city. But what seems like simple altitude sickness gives way to some more susbstantial. Soon angry politics, a failing relationships and colonisation is the focus of the discussion.

This two hander builds in intensity to an uneasy finale. A trip intended to escape the cracks in their relationship only serves to expand the divide between the two. Both Rose and Jones give an intimate intensity to a couple lost among the bland hotel rooms and template sights.

Max Pappenheim's sound design adds to the horrors. With it's clash of traditional and western music and creepy effects of a couple trapped in a both a tourist trap and one of their own creation. This is no  happy tale of taking off to Peru...

Víctor Sánchez's piece translated by William Gregory came about after a meeting between the two in 2016. The translation retains much of the poetry of the Spanish original. At times this can feel distracting but the message remains powerful can be jarring but the message remains provocative.

Directed by Kate O'Connor, Cuzco is at Theatre 503 until 16 February.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️



Photos by Holly Lucas

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