Arranged by Contempo Productions Ltd
Reviewer: Janet Jepson
The clue is in the name; the Opera Boys do opera – but as we soon find out, not always as we know it. From the moment these guys walk onto the stage and open their mouths, it is obvious that this will be a special evening, and their talent and training will enthrall everyone.
On the night of this review, the line-up consisted of hunks Richard and Colin from Scotland, blonde Adonis Dutch/Aussie Michael, and the endearing, bespectacled Rob from Lancaster. Most of the audience would happily take any or all of them home to tea, and they certainly add visual pleasure to the excellent musical numbers! Their smart 3-piece suits and red ties look immaculate, and the four-piece band behind them backed by a simple lighted starcloth is all that is needed to create the perfect atmosphere.
One musical number follows the other in quick succession, twenty-one songs in all, with vocal arrangements and harmonies which are truly beautiful. These classically trained voices deliver such stunning power and emotion that spines tingle and neck hairs stand to attention. Their voices first blend perfectly into one amazing sound, then just as perfectly stand out individually to cover an impressive range of notes. The show consists of the most unbelievable mix of music, from true opera to West End musicals through to pop; all performed in the Opera Boys’ unique style. There’s ‘Nella Fantasia’, ‘Nessum Dorma’, ‘The Prayer’ made famous by Celine Dion, and Katherine Jenkins’ ‘Bring me to life’, all interspersed with modern numbers that have become classics in their own right – gems such as ‘Bring Him Home’ from the incredible Les Miserables, ‘Music of the night’ from Phantom of the Opera, and ‘Somewhere’ from West Side Story. Irrepressible comic Rob never does get to wear the frock he allegedly keeps in the wings, but he makes a very good Miss Jenkins!
The humour shared with the audience and good-natured banter between the lads is infectious, bringing out a fun side to the show, totally dispelling the notion that opera can be somewhat stuffy. There’s a Westlife parody that’s priceless – the lads stand up from their stools on the key change in ‘You Raise Me Up’, and casually stroll forwards seductively; the audience erupts! It has to be said that maybe Westlife have the edge because somehow ‘Por Te Sere’ doesn’t sound quite as emotive. It is interesting though to hear Take That’s ‘Rule the World’ sung half in English and half in Italian, likewise Frank Sinatra’s ‘My Way’; but again, ‘Unchained Melody’ in Italian doesn’t quite hit the spot. Football heroes and even James Bond are included with ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Thunderball’, such is the variety of music performed. One lucky, beautiful lady chosen from the audience was even hilariously serenaded onstage with “one cornetto”; she is probably still beaming from ear to ear!
The Opera Boys perform their wonderful shows all over the world, some of them are lucky enough to get parts in West End and Broadway musicals and they take to stages as diverse as cruise ships and even Butlins, so everyone can catch them somewhere. An added bonus comes at the very end when the lads are in the charming flesh at the theatre door, shaking hands and chatting to everyone as they leave.
Now let’s see, “how many sugars do you take in your tea?”
Highly Recommended for all.
Reviewed on: Thursday 30 July 2015