Showing posts from February, 2022

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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

Streaming immorality: Is He Musical?

To coincide with LGBT history month, a digital stream of 'Is He Musical?' is available to stream. A new short musical by Jude Taylor, it covers the secret life of queer friends who partied in 1930s London and is available to stream now until 6 March. Just like the other phrase, "friend of Dorothy," "Is he musical?" is code. After all, it's from a time when the police could arrest you some vaguely defined immorality. The piece doesn't explore why being musical is code for being gay or queer, but a response on Quora from a straight ex-military musical loving man is as good an explanation as any. The respondent suggests that musicals emphasise emotions, which parallels gay men who stereotypically live a flamboyant life.   So with that in mind, the piece is set in London's West End in the 1930s. Lawrence (Barry O'Reilly) arrives on the scene and befriends Wilfred (Teddy Hinde). But the parties and self-indulgent lifestyles can't hide the di

A hard rain’s gonna fall: Rain and Zoe Save The World @JSTheatre

The message in Rain and Zoe Save the World is topical and perhaps foretelling. This new play by writer Crystal Skillman sees a future in which young activists do more than block roads to protest climate change. They are taking direct action by blowing up things and taking facilities offline even if they risk their lives and become outlaws. It's currently playing at the Jermyn Street Theatre .  It could be easy to dismiss the piece as a bit of a far-fetched coming of age story. But you could also see it as a harbinger of what is to come as pollution, wild weather and pandemics become part of everyday life. Something has to give, and the play suggests that a new breed of teenage activism might be the subsequent logical response.  We open on with sixteen-year-old Zoe (Mei Henri) in her backyard. Suspended from school after an incident, she convinces her recently arrived neighbour Rain (Jordan Benjamin) to take his bike with them to drive across the country to find her mother at a prot

Thanks for all the fish: An Evening Without Kate Bush @sohotheatre

  A Kate Bush tribute for someone who isn't a Kate Bush fan might seem a daunting night at the theatre. Will the in-jokes fly over the head? Yes. Will the fear of being in a confined space of Kate Bush fans be overwhelming? Well, not if you brush up on a playlist beforehand. But An Evening Without Kate Bush is an initiation into the world of fandom and her music. Kate Bush, the phenomenon is equally revered and lovingly teased in this hour-long celebration of her music and cultural impact. It's currently playing downstairs at the Soho Theatre .  Presented by Sarah-Louise Young, you don't have to be a Kate Bush fan to appreciate her work. And you'll be soon joining in to howling along to the Hounds of Love and partaking in all sorts of participatory theatre (in as much as socially distant theatre allows). And along with the songs and trivia, you learn what it is to be a Kate Bush fan (or fish as they are known).  Young is an expert teacher in the crazy world of Kate Bush