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Kafka-ish: Kafka @Finborough

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In offering proof that Kafka is everything to everyone - writer-performer Jack Klaff plays various roles, including the man himself in what is a part tour, part immersion and part legend of Franz Kafka. He is a writer who achieved fame after his life was cut short due to succumbing to tuberculosis at the age of forty. He is probably better known for his reputation and the Kafkaesque style attributed to his writing than his life. But after this piece, you’re left curious to learn more about the man and his works. And that has to be the best theatrical tribute you could give a writer, even for a writer who stipulated that his works be destroyed upon his death. It’s currently playing at the Finborough Theatre . Franz Kafka was born in Prague in 1883. In 1901, he was admitted to a university and began studying law. While studying, he met Max Brod, who would become his best friend and eventual literary executor. Brod would posthumously publish many of his works and writings. Kafka’s life co

Duelling sopranos, love gone wrong: Der Schauspieldirektor and Bastien Und Bastienne @Popupoperauk

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The singing is always the key to Popup Opera’s touring operas in small or unusual spaces. Along with the chance to see some overlooked or minor pieces by famous composers. Again the company does not disappoint with its Mozart double bill: Der Schauspieldirektor and Bastien Und Bastienne. The first half of the piece, Der Schauspieldirektor, is essentially half an hour of music stretched out to a mildly amusing farce. Tradition has it that the dialogue around this piece is rewritten. Here the scenario is duelling auditions between two sopranos when a struggling opera company can only afford one. It’s an amusing premise that becomes a bit silly in its execution. But there’s still some serious music making. Particularly when older diva Sarah Helena Foubert and younger diva Hazel McBain spar in a thrilling duet. In the second half we have Bastien Und Bastienne. Both consult a relationship guru (updated from a soothsayer) when one suspects the other is having an affair. After a series of s

Secret marriages and other rivalries: Il Matrimonio Segreto @popupoperauk

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Cimarosa’s Il Matrimonio Segreto (The Secret Marriage) continues Pop-up Opera's tradition of semi-staging rarely seen works in unusual locations. It's playing at various sites across the country until 30 July. This rarely-seen work is perfect for their style. It's a little bit silly. It has some great arias. And it showcases some fabulous voices from its young and energetic cast. Of course being Pop-up Opera, they add some 21st century flourishes to this  18th century opera. There are endless references to politics and on-point trends.

Incestual manoeuvres: Fool For Love @Found111ldn

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  There are various things you can take from Fool For Love playing at Found111 . There isn’t much of a plot. It is more a series of sparring rounds that serve as a star vehicle for great performances. But you walk away thinking how love fades, horse floats burn well and incest is rife. It’s random in a way but enough to thrill and amuse. The couple in focus are Eddie ( Adam Rothenberg ) and May ( Lydia Wilson ). They take pot shots at each other and then kiss and make up. Along the way there is a mysterious old man (Joe McGann) and a new suitor Martin (Luke Neal). Sam Shepard wrote this piece between love affairs. He covers how two people can simultaneously love and loathe each other. But past injustices give way to more secrets and lies that suggest that old wounds don’t heal. They just get ripped open again and again.

High stakes and high vocals: I Capuleti e i Montecchi @PopupOperaUK

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Continuing their tradition of opera in surprising and unusual locations, Pop Up Opera delivers a sensational and dramatic compact performance of Bellini's I Capuleti E I Montecchi. It is easy to get swept away with the drama on stage thanks to the strong performances of the leads. While every venue they perform in is different, the basement of a Baker Street restaurant lent itself well to this reworking of Romeo and Juliet. The action takes place in low places and hiding areas and so the polished concrete and bare staging worked well here. And the hard surfaces meant you could hear every aria and recitative.

Under the skin: Bug @found111ldn

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A claustrophobic location and terrific performances makes Bug, Tracy Lett's thriller of conspiracy and loss, a must-see theatrical event. James Norton and Kate Fleetwood act in your laps as two troubled souls stuck in an Oklahoma motel. Found 111 is on the site of the former Central Saint Martins School on Charing Cross Road. It is one of the less glamorous West End theatrical locations, but it has to be one of the most memorable. You walk up a series of stairs surrounded by a lift well (the lift doesn't work by the way so you do have to take the stars), and then find yourself in what looks like part of a cheap motel. There is an unmade bed in the centre and a side board for coffee making facilities. It is an incredible simple yet evocative design by Ben Stones . Desperation fills the air even before the show starts, but that may be because people are in search of the best seat in the house. The audience surrounds all this in what has to be a new trend in voyeur

Meanwhile in SW13: Dress Rehearsal @OSOArtsBarnes

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Backstage antics at a pub theatre in Barnes never felt so mild or bemusing in Dress Rehearsal. But while the drama is a little flat the music and production values make up for it. It's on for a short run at the OSO Arts Centre . Dress Rehearsal follows five performers and their rivalries, failures and ambitions. What happens backstage spills onstage as the drama leads into music and then back into more drama.

Hammams of convenience: Mozart's Die Entführung @PopupOperaUK

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There is something appealingly convenient about the format of Pop Up Opera’s productions. They take witty (and often seldom performed) pieces and stage them in unusual locations, with a modern twist. The convenient part comes in the fact these locations are either close to your place of work, your home et cetera. So by the time Die Entführung came to south east London, I was ready to go. Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio) is about a hero, Belmonte and his servant, Pedrillo, and their attempts to rescue their lovers, Konstanze and Blonde from an Ottoman harem. Given the popup opera treatment, the harem is now a big brother-like bath house come beauty boot camp where no men are allowed. And no women are allowed to leave (at least until the treatments are complete). In this production most of the spoken dialogue is removed and in place are some rather witty title cards. The role of the figurehead-dictator Pasha Selim is now an omniprese