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Showing posts from November, 2021

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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

Just giving and taking away: Charity Case @draytonarmsSW5

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I've often wondered if when someone dies after undertaking some impossible feat for a charity (like running the London Marathon), the charity exclaims, "Yes! We're going to make payroll!" Well, going by Charity Case, Jeff Page's look at the sector, they might do. Nobody dies in this brief look at the charity sector, but it's a hard graft constantly looking for money to survive while providing an essential service outsourced by the government. It's currently playing at Drayton Arms Theatre for this week.  The focus here is on a fictitious charity called Number 93. Funds are down, and expenses are up. The race is on to find some emergency funding. But is it an expensive overhead with high paying charity executives draining the money, or is it impossible demands by the government to deliver essential services for vulnerable children and adults?  Ahead of a deadline to confirm funds as a going concern, there are meetings with ministers, rock stars, cold-calli

The sweet smell of progress: The Sugar House @finborough

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Watching The Sugar House at the Finborough Theatre reminded me of the comment made by journalist  Evan Whitton that Sydney was the most corrupt city in the world. Except, of course, after Newark, New Jersey and Brisbane Queensland. But corrupt cops and underworld figures of the Sydney scene are only part of this epic family story that spans three generations of a working-class Sydney family. It's currently playing at the Finborough  Theatre. The story opens with Narelle (Jessica Zerlina Leafe) looking over a new conversion property on the former site of a sugar refinery in Sydney. It was near where she grew up. She's a lawyer now and could afford to buy one of these bland modern conversions. But all she can see are memories of the place where she grew up with her mother and grandparents.  What unfolds next focuses on the harsher side of the lucky country. Where jobs were precarious and poverty, poor health and crime were not too far away. The police were a force to be feared.

Short silences: Footfalls & Rockaby @JSTheatre

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Going to the theatre is just one of the things we can do to pass the time by as we slowly die, so here you can make an evening of it. Two short works by Samuel Beckett make a haunting and reflective double bill at the Jermyn Street Theatre and give you enough time to have dinner after. Alone with your thoughts (and surrounded by mostly masked theatregoers), mortality, regrets and endless pondering may not be everyone’s idea of a night out at the theatre. But it’s certainly provocative.  Theatre doesn’t have to be three hours long to linger with you. The themes about age, the passing of time, and death seem apt after the last two years. The pieces stir up memories of those who have left us or who remained close to those that did. First up is Footfalls. A woman paces up and down a small stage. Her footsteps are audible at every step on the wooden platform, which is like a platform. There’s a bell that tolls too as she walks and reacts to her mother’s voice. Motherhood, religious isolati