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And Now For Something Completely Different - the Improvesarios


The Improvesarios. L-R (back row) Stephen Brown, Becca Madden, Rebecca Chandler, Emily Linane, (seated) Dominic Bentham. Photo courtesy of The Improvesarios.


Improvesarios, The Studio, Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, for one night only, 10 February 2024.

Review by Ann Evans

 

And now for something completely different – and the Improvesarios are indeed very different, - also very talented and very brave opera singers and musicians.

 

As the name implies, they face their audience with a blank canvas as to what they are going to sing, do and play. Every word and every note in the impromptu opera that they create is made up on the spur of the moment – and in last night’s case, there was some impromptu dancing thrown in for good measure too. Matthew (Stephen Brown) the lovelorn gravedigger danced on poor dead Mabel’s grave at her funeral; but really it was nothing personal!

 

Yes, last night’s opera was set in a graveyard thanks to a suggestion made by Elementary Whatson’s Rob Tysall – and cheered loudest by the audience who had been asked where the opera should be set. They then gave the masterpiece a title - Dying To Meet You!

 

Five Improvesarios took to the Loft’s Studio floor and totally delighted the audience for the next two hours and more, with their witty ‘off the cuff’ lyrics, their fine voices and hilarious acting.


The Improvesarios. Photo courtesy of the artists.

 

The Improvesarios feature Rugby based Becca Madden, Director and Soprano, who recently graduated with an MMus from Trinity Laban Conservatoire, where she studied under Joan Rogers. Becca also introduced us to the team and got the audience on board with her lovely personality and humour – and of course her fabulous voice. She played the kind-hearted Adam – the priest’s assistant in our opera.

 

Music Director and Pianist Dominic Bentham (DipABRSM) who is based in South-East London played the keyboard throughout the performance, brilliantly creating the music to accompany the singers and set the tone and mood of the opera. Quite a feat - and accomplished with obvious relish, as he either controlled the tempo and style of the music, or took his lead from the singers to accompany their improvised renditions.

 

Assistant Producer and Mezzo-Soprano Rebecca Chandler has enjoyed performing in multiple Gilbert & Sullivan operettas’. In formal settings, she sings trouser roles, most recently playing the role of Romeo in Trinity Laban’s opera ‘Strozzi’. She was hilarious as the priest conducting the funeral in Dying To Meet You!

 

Producer and Tenor Stephen Brown is a young London based Heldentenor fresh from completing his MMus at Trinity Laban conservatoire. A Kathleen Creed scholar. Stephen was the lovelorn gravedigger in our opera, who longed to meet a woman less dead than the ones he usually came into contact with. With no respite throughout the show, Stephen didn’t falter thinking up new ways to take the plot.

 

Emily Linane – a Mezzo Soprano is a recent graduate from The University of York, who is now studying at Trinity Laban Conservatoire. Emily fell in love with singing at the age of 8 with the help of Roger Brooks and continued her passion at University with Yvonne Seymour. She is now studying for a Master in Composition. Emily played the grieving granddaughter in our opera, and I don’t think I – or the rest of the audience, will ever forget her heartfelt operatic lament of Oh Mabel!



 There was fabulous team-work between these incredible opera singers, who did exactly what they set out to do – entertain their audience by creating a brand new (hilarious) opera before your very eyes. A thoroughly enjoyable night.  

 

Learn more about the talented Improvesarios on their website, and of course check out where they are appearing next. It’s a great fun experience that you’ll love. And you may never look at opera in the same way again!

 

 To see what’s coming up at The Loft, go to: https://lofttheatrecompany.com/

For more on the Improvesarios and where they play next, go to: https://improvesarios.com/

 


 

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