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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

Bloody previews: Grand Guignol

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The Theatre Royal Plymouth's production of Carl Grose's Grand Guignol is to play in Plymouth and the Southwark Playhouse this October. A Grand Guignol play (which takes the name from the theatre in Montmartre that produced them), are designed to give you thrills and chills. Madness, murder and a healthy dose of gruesomeness prevail throughout. And no doubt it all looks delightful when offset against some white tiles or a red curtain. The piece plays with these conventions and centres on the original Parisian theatre company and its members, combining black comedy and blood spattering and psychological thriller. One to watch out for... Perhaps literally... Photo credit: 2009 Production by Manuel Harlan

Theatre: Revenge of The Grand Guignol

It was a bloody night at the Courtyard Theatre Hoxton where I finally managed to catch Theatre of the Damned's Revenge of the Grand Guignol. Well it is not all blood and gore, but these four stories all have enough thrills, laughs and shocks to have you and the ice within your favourite beverage all aquiver... So much so that when the lady in front of @johnnyfoxlondon and I blew her nose, we both jumped. Last year's show in Camden was great, but this year was even better with stories that are even more compelling and some great performances. There is a melodramatic story about a mad doctor, a pensioner with a buried secret, a long distance relationship gone wrong and a beautiful woman trapped in a munitions factory. All of the stories have in common the ability to turn something ordinary into the unusual. And through some rather clever lighting and sound effects, even when things seem fine, you were on the edge of your seat. The show is part of the London Horror Festi