views from the gods

saints and sinners of the stage and screen

Whether you normally look down from the cheap seats in the gods, or sit up close in the front row, there's so much happening on the London performing arts scene and comedy circuit, it can be difficult to decide which shows you should spend your cash on and which shows should quite frankly, pay you for turning up.

At Views from the Gods, we review all the latest London talent, from West End plays to emerging comedians. We hope our site helps introduce you to some new performers.

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Everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet. Boy meets girl, they marry on the quiet (which is a bit questionable in today's context given the assumed age gap ) and they then both die. It's not exactly the stuff of which Disney fairy tales are made, so you can understand the serious tone in I Capuleti e i Montecchi. A joint suicide is pretty damn tragic, I'll give them that. However, Pop Up Opera are a company who have forged an unrivalled reputation for top notch opera based on their natural flair for the comedic and this choice of production doesn't play to their strengths. The tone here makes sense, the singers hit all the right notes and yet as perfect as the musical element is, stage director James Hurley doesn't keep up with musical director Berrak Dyer and rather than this being an exceptional piece of opera, I Capuleti e i Montecchi is merely a good production with the company not living up to their previous (admittedly crazily high) standards.

The usual silent movie-esque captions are significantly pared back, with many of the projected subtitles merely a faithful account of what is being sung in Italian, together with a straight English translation. Anyone who has ever spent at least 10 seconds in the company of the captions writer Harry Percival will note the distinct lack of his gloriously warm and funny personality shining through and this is disappointing. The few attempted jokes are half-hearted and if anything slightly jarring; it feels as if Percival has been told to reign it in and his character always contributed hugely to the company's inclusive and accessible feel, even if he was never physically present on stage. If there's a learning point for the next show, it's let Percival loose to jot down whatever pops into his head.

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