Powder Room at Piccadilly Cinemas
Until 05 Mar 2017

Review by Tony Busch

This is delightful. A fringe show featuring a series of well-known arias woven into a created storyline of three women who accidentally meet in a ladies loo.

Thomas De Angelis, Keiren Brandt-Sawdy and Clemence Williams have created a theatre piece that is witty, dramatic and truly entertaining, and director Clemence Williams and musical director Keiren Brandt-Sawdy have brought it all together superbly. The piece abounds with whimsical moments and deft theatrical touches and delivers a very satisfying experience.

To tell the story would be to give the game away as part of the enjoyment is trying to forecast where the story will go next and what aria or duet will accompany it – but we heard arias from Mozart, Handel, Purcell, Delibes, Offenbach, Catalani and more.

Sally Alrich-Smythe is possessed of a voice of great purity and an even greater dramatic talent. Her journey through the piece is perhaps the most serious and she handles it with ease.

Camilla Wright is a powerhouse with a great voice and focussed performance skills.

Britt Lewis also has a lovely tone and performance savvy and made the most of her arias, though the direction at the beginning of “Voi che sapete” spoilt the melody line.

She and Camilla combined beautifully in two famous duets, with the three singers offering a marvellous version of a trio which normally includes a bass but which sounded just as beguiling sung by the three.

There were some issues with breath control and an annoying tendency to truncate some phrases but overall the vocal performances were terrific. The acoustic, while not perfect, is surprisingly good and the venue provides ample room for audience comfort. (I never knew ladies’ loos were that luxurious.)

Mention must be made of accompanist Viet Nguyen, who ably supports the singers with some fine and sensitive playing.

If you love opera this is the show for you. And even if you’re not an opera buff, the whole concept is so entertaining that you’ll love it. There are even surtitles provided. Don’t miss this one.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)