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Showing posts with the label Jenna Russell

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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

Cat people and corns: Grey Gardens @swkplay

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Perhaps the central message in Grey Gardens is that no matter what you do, no matter how much you fight it, you will turn into your mother. Particularly since Jenna Russell (in a a star turn) plays both Little Edie and Big Edie in this show, based on the the Beales of Grey Gardens It’s only early in the year, but this has to be one of the funniest things to happen on stage in London for 2016. It also serves as a wonderful vehicle showing just how darn funny Russell can be. Grey Gardens is a musical based on the documentary of the same name. The documentary, released in 1975, caused a sensation with its frank depiction of two old cat women living in squalor with cats and raccoons. They also just happened to be related to Jacqueline Onassis.

It’s not where you start: Songs for A New World @St_JamesTheatre

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Twenty years after it first premiered Off-Broadway, the song-cycle / revue Songs For A New World at the St James Theatre serves as a useful introduction to composer-lyricist Jason Robert Brown’s early work. It’s initially exciting to watch four accomplished performers (mostly) handle his vocally demanding work. But the effect of 90 minutes of his music straight through makes you feel as if you are trapped in a world that is a bit repetitive. It starts out spectacularly with the opening number “The New World”, a song about starting over. And then there is a song about endings, another about loss, and another about new beginnings. By the half way point, the limitations of the music become apparent.