Showing posts from October, 2021

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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

Thinking out loud: 10 Nights @Bushtheatre

.  Shahid Iqbal Kahn's 10 Nights, currently playing at the studio space of the Bush Theatre , is about what happens when a young, carefree British Muslim man spends the last ten nights of Ramadan in a mosque. But it isn't a story about religion or radicalisation. It is a more straightforward journey. Yasser (Zaqi Ismail) gets around in a tracksuit and sandals. He likes a drink, and he loves chips. A reluctant participant in the i'tikaf, he did it for his father and to honour his friend who died in a car accident. The reasons for the accident become more evident as the story progresses. Left alone for long periods between prayers and fasting, it becomes the inner monologue of Yasser. And as the days progress with only his thoughts and a few smug fellow worshippers to keep him company, he realises he has to face up to a few things. What it may lack in drama is made up in the detailed characterisations by Ismail of his father and friends at the mosque. There are also enough ex

Man not about town: Foxes @theatre503

Upbringing, identity and family are at the heart of  Foxes , by Dexter Flanders, currently at Theatre 503. It’s a powerful and often funny piece, sensitively portrayed by the ensemble cast with a lively soundtrack. Daniel (Michael Fatogun) is a young black man trying to keep up with a life that is quickly racing away from him. He’s got study to do, he’s got his girlfriend, Meera (July Namir), pregnant, and he has a best friend, Leon (Anyebe Godwin), who wants to play more than just black ops with him. The foxes in Dexter Flander’s play aren’t the ones running about tearing apart rubbish bags on the street. They’re the men hiding in the shadows, fearing rejection and fearing ridicule. There’s too much at stake for them to be who they are, and so they hide behind alpha male stereotypes, family and religion to pretend to be something they are not.  I What makes this work so well is how it quickly immerses you into the world of the lives of this black B ritish family, creating a detailed p

Lost at sea: Lately @proforcatheatre

What happens when two childhood sweethearts escape from each other's orbit? Well, no prizes for guessing it doesn't end well, but James Lewis's Lately tries to piece together the fragments of two young lives from the roads taken and not taken. But it may not be everyone's cup of tea, and the theatre offers up resources for those troubled by how it ends. Still, it's a delicate exploration of conflicting stories, priorities and young people navigating a confusing and messy world.  Callum and Alison seemed like they would be together forever. They had a lot in common. Most of it was crap. They both have a crap family life and live in a crap part of England. The only things that aren't crap are the endless waves from the nearby sea, the occasional trip to the fairgrounds. And a few fireworks that go off when it's Alison's birthday. It's a monotonous and grim life. But while Alison wanted to escape, Callum remained firmly planted where he was.  When Aliso