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Showing posts with the label Wiltons Music Hall

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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

Songs and dancing: Three / 8:38 / Seven @WiltonMusicHall

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It was meant to be ballet with songs. But instead after the cancelling of the original programming of Seven Deadly Sins, it became songs and a little bit of choreography. But with its beautiful singing and a chance to see a new dance piece choreographed by Javier De Frutos, Three / 8:38 / Seven shows that simple (although unplanned) premises can make a for a great evening of entertainment. It’s currently at Wiltons Music Hall . The programme opens with “Three”, representing songs from Kurt Weil and Bertolt Brecht’s Threepenny Opera. Beginning with the overture, it sets the mood for the period of Weimar Berlin. It might help to understand the time and context of the piece, but by the time we’re into the Pimp’s Ballad and Mack The Knife (arguably Weil’s biggest hit) it probably doesn’t matter. Next up is the dance piece, 8:38 performed by Viviana Durante and Mbulelo Ndabeni, set to music by Bach and Weil, ending with Lotte Lenya’s version of September Song. As the two dance in s

For the boys: The Pirates of Penzance @WiltonMusicHall

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It’s still a man’s world in Cornwall. Or so it is in Sasha Reagan’s all-male version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. Ten years on from it’s first presentation, the show is still full of humour, energy and resourcefullness. And staged among the period features of  Wilton’s Music Hall , it's a perfect match. Over the years I’ve missed all the all-male cast versions staged by the Union Theatre . There’s been Iolanthe, The Mikado and HMS Pinafore. Which is too bad. What they lack in feminine presence they make up with in comic timing, energy and vigour. The show never misses a chance to bring out the humour in the situation, while still remaining largely faithful to the original material. It’s a resourceful production too. Simple props like a broom turn into a horse. Which is then fed a carrot. In a most amusing way.A ladder and some fabric become a pirate ship on the high seas (or at least on English Chanel). And no doubt the all-male cast doubling a

Sing like nobody’s watching: Songs for Nobodies @WiltonMusicHall

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Songs for Nobodies starts as if it is a theatrical happening. There’s a hush at Wilton’s Music Hall as it descends into darkness. And when the lights go up there is a small, middle aged woman on stage looking somewhat meek. But soon there is an astounding transformation as she channels a range of musical greats. Mimicking their style and intonation. Starting with Judy Garland, then Patsy Cline, Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday and finally Maria Callas. It’s thrilling and bewildering.  The piece is billed as a play with music by Joanna Murray-Smith, created to suit the vocal talents of Australian singer Bernadette Robinson. The premise is that a series of “nobodies” whose lives briefly intersect with these stars. There’s the lady, Beatrice who fixes Judy Garland’s hem and the usher Pearl who becomes backup to Patsy Cline and so on.  It’s clear that Robinson has a unique talent and she holds your attention. And the production shines in Wilton’s music hall.  The faded grandeur of the venue ble

Some old goose: Mother Goose @wiltonmusichall

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A terrific cast, a fun story and the fabulous atmosphere of Wiltons Music Hall make Mother Goose a panto not to miss this season. Well, if you like that sort of thing... Roy Hudd writes and stars as the Pantomime Dame Mother Goose. She is an old woman who befriends a rather large and lonely goose. In return the goose gives her riches beyond her wildest dreams. Naturally being a poor old woman of meagre means it goes to her head. She sells her soul and her goose and ends up looking as it she should be in The Only Way Is Essex. It is an odd story for a pantomime, but it's clear that Hudd and his wife, director Debbie Flitcroft, know the essence of good panto. There is a battle between good and evil, spectacular costumes, audience participation. Not to mention a mix of songs and some pretty hoary jokes and ad-libs.