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Showing posts with the label Bronagh Lagan

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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

Love in concert: Broken Wings

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Love, like new musicals can be fleeting. And tragic. Broken Wings had a short run this week at the Theatre Royal Haymarket . Semi-staged and with a nine-piece orchestra it was an opportunity to bring to life the concept album. Although given the lacklustre staging and curious lack of drama, listening to the album proves more entertaining. Written by Nadim Naaman and Dana Al Fardan, the piece is based on Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran’s poetic (and semi-autobiographical) novel. It’s your typical boy meets girl but girl is sold to another influential family. Told through flashbacks we know from the outset that all will not end well. It opens New York City, 1923 where the older Gibran (Nadim Naaman) looks back on two decades to early 1900s Beirut. There the story begins with his return to Beirut after studying in America. As his younger self, Rob Houchen and his soaring tenor vocals are a delight to hear, even if his physical appearance makes it a struggle to see how he grows up looking like

Cheap locker room talk: Promises Promises @swkplay

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Songs by Burt Bacharach and a great cast can't conceal the paper-thin story and an awful lot of what probably is best described today as locker room talk in Promises Promises. It's currently playing at Southwark Playhouse . It's based on Billy Wilder's film The Apartment starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. It's about a young man who sees a way of climbing the corporate ladder by lending out his apartment to executives for brief encounters. But in the translation from screen to stage, it feels slow and repetitive. At three hours it draws out the drama and loses the comedy with the relentless locker room talk, superfluous songs and dialogue.