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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

Depression and abuse: The Distance You Have Come @Cockpittheatre

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Scott Alan’s song cycle The Distance You Have Come gets a star quality injection with it’s lineup of West End performers. If only the material could match them. Entering the theatre you’re warned you’re about to see a show with “adult themes pertaining to depression and abuse”. But that’s only part of the problem. Still, it’s great to see some of the best performers on the West End up close in the intimate surrounds of the Cockpit Theatre . There’s Andy Coxon and Adrian Hansel play two lovers who after a brief relationship get a dog gayby. There’s Emma Hatton and Dean John-Wilson who seem to have a Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman Eyes Wide Shut-style of relationship. And there’s Jodie Jacobs and Alexia Khadime who are best friends until a close encounter of the same sex kind complicates everything. Cue the depression, abuse and extended self reflection. And a curious scene involving hooded people wearing masks, stripping Dean John-Wilson down to his boxers. It can be challenging to have a s