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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

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 with emergency rooms and long distances and live together? There may be rules and procedures for various things, but what can you do when someone you love doesn't want to be alive? A safe pair of hands is perhaps a start. 

It's a sensitively told story enhanced by an uplifting soundtrack including "Singing in the Rain" and Leonard Cohen's "Dance Me to the End of Love". If songs are the soundtracks to our lives these serve to remind us of the how much there is to life.  

Directed by Andrea Heaton, The Light House is at Park Theatre until 13 April.


Photos: Ant Robling

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