Showing posts from April, 2024

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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

The agony and the misogyny: Banging Denmark @finborough

Banging Denmark, the comic play by Van Badham, answers the question, what lengths does a misogynistic pickup artist go to date with a frosty Danish librarian? It may be an uneasy farce given the subject matter, but it is made more palatable by the cast assembled to convince you of it. It's currently having its European premiere at the Finborough Theatre .  It opens with Guy DeWitt (Tom Kay) at one end of the stage. His real name is Jake, and he's a part-time podcaster whose expertise is misogyny and playing the role of the pickup artist. That is, someone who attempts to coax women into having sex with a mix of flattery or manipulation. His podcast attracts a variety of involuntarily celibate men (or incels), so call in asking for advice. And while he gives the impression of living the high life, he is in a grimy flat strewn with empty pizza boxes.  At the other end of the stage is feminist academic Ishtar (Rebecca Blackstone). She lives out of the photocopy room, losing all her

Bear with me: Sun Bear @ParkTheatre

If The Light House is an uplifting tale of survival, Sarah Richardson’s Sun Bear gives a contrasting take on this. Sarah plays Katy. We’re introduced to Katy as she runs through a list of pet office peeves with her endlessly perky coworkers, particularly about coworkers stealing her pens. It’s a hilarious opening monologue that would have you wishing you had her as a coworker to help relieve you from the boredom of petty office politics.  But something is not quite right in the perfect petty office, where people work together well. And that is her. And despite her protesting that she is fine, the pet peeves and the outbursts are becoming more frequent. As the piece progresses, maybe the problem lies in a past relationship, where Katy had to be home by a particular hour, not stay out late with office colleagues and not be drunk enough not to answer his calls. Perhaps the perky office colleagues are trying to help, and perhaps Katy is trying to reach out for help. It has simple staging

Man Overboard: The Light House @ParkTheatre

Lightness and dark are in the balance in The Light House, writer and performer Alys Williams's story about the complexity of love. It is a love story about the highs and the lows of falling in love with someone who doesn't always want to be alive. But with some deft storytelling and some inspired audience participation, the piece is an uplifting and funny tale about the joys and otherwise of being in love. After a tour of the UK, it is having its London premiere at Park Theatre as part of their Make Mine a Double season of short plays. From the outset, Williams sets the piece's tone by calling for audience involvement to help shout "Man overboard" or blow whistles. She is a reassuring navigator, so while every show differs depending on who agrees to participate, you get the sense that you're in safe hands with her. And that becomes the story here as well. After falling in love with a fellow acting student, how does she find a way to keep the lights on, deal w