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Showing posts with the label Janine Ulfane

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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

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.

Citizens of nowhere: A Lesson From Aloes @Finborough

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Relationships and friendships can be fragile. Like democracy and freedom. In a world falling apart to paranoia and suspicion, the only thing that grows in this barren land are little pots of aloe. In A Lesson From Aloes at the Finborough, it's 1960s South Africa. In a dreary Port Elizabeth suburb, Piet (David Minnaar) and Gladys (Janine Ulfane) are waiting for Steve and his family to visit. But the guests are late and for good reason. There’s suspicion that Piet turned informer which saw Steve imprisoned and interrogated. Shunned by their old friends, and under observation by the police, their world has collapsed. All that is left for Piet are his precious little plants of Aloe growing in their pots. And for Gladys what is lost is more than political discussion. By the time Steve (David Rubin) shows up there's a power keg ready to blow up. He's leaving South Africa after being granted an exit permit. A one-way ticket out of the country which strips him and his fam