London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
An opera performance like we haven’t seen before, THE LOST THING at Royal Opera House tells Shaun Tan’s much awarded story via an outstanding cast of disabled and non-disabled singers, dancers and musicians. The inclusivity is truly celebrated on stage and voices are out of this world. There’s Christmas in this dystopian busy gloomy and grey city, but even more importantly there’s THE Lost Thing, a hilarious creature with 8 legs and 8 hands, which keeps on moving, changing, shrinking, expanding and contracting.
The show is a charming and topical environmental parable. The City and the beach are a collection of cement buildings, cranes, planes and trains, where life is busy and so manufactured, formed of forms to fill and mechanical processes; everyone is busy commuting or brainwashed to their tasks. THE Lost Thing looks to us very much alive since first spotted by Shaun but to all, it doesn’t belong and doesn’t fit; it is afterall biodiverse, many limbed and purely weird.
Our 6 years old loved The lost Thing creature and its unpredictable hilarious moves as soon as it showed up. A welcome break and distraction to the doom of the grey city and the sombre opening musical theme. We loved the irony and merriness of Sweep it under the Carpet, the vivacity of Fill that Form, Check it Double Check it. And we took enormous joy when The Lost Thing finds its natural place overflowing with flora and fauna, bursting with life and lush vegetation.
Candoco Dance Company is a contemporary physically integrated dance company, founded in 1991 by Celeste Dandeker and Adam Benjamin. Their bold approach celebrates on stage different ways of seeing, being and making art. And it’s so graceful and powerful, you’ll never look at disability the same again. There are musicians with hearing and visual impairments, there’s a duet between a blind singer and blind pianist, there’s a disabled cast which dances divinely.
But to me, the part truly out of this world are the voices. Joel Brown’s singing (Shaun) is heart-breaking; there’s so much sadness and melancholy in it, spot on our sudden awareness about nature, the hurt we’ve done to it, the attention and struggle what to make of it. He is the outsider of the traditional Western classic opera voices, hence his ability to spot, understand and eventually guide back The Lost Thing. There’s also Victoria Oruwari, a London based Nigerian blind soprano – playing Shaun’s mother – electrical and sublime. And the way it all works with traditionally trained baritone Peter Brathwaite, mezzo soprano Bethan Langford, soprano Melanie Pappenheim and countertenor Collin Shay is magic on the stage! Innovative, fresh and so powerful.
Having spent a gorgeous Sunday Family Day with Royal Opera House with kids just weeks before, both 6 years old and 3.5 were super keen to return. We had a lovely lunch (thanks Royal Opera House) but a difficult time with the 3.5 years old. A 45 minutes lunch in Royal Opera House gorgeous rooftop setting overlooking the festive Covent Garden or the relaxed Linbury café area downstairs sounded great in principle but didn’t quite work for the little one this time round. I felt quite torn that once again I took him out of his comfort zone and attempted family lunch with friends. But The Lost Thing show put again everything into perspective; neuro diversity is truly fine, part of our lives and with the right support, so beautiful and graceful.
View this post on Instagram
Yay we survived this week! 🥂 This is from last Sunday, the most fabulous #cultured family Sunday we had in a long time ❤️ all credits to @royaloperahouse, their #December date looks sold out but hey #culturedparents get your 2020 tickeys! We crafted puppets, made cards, dressed up with gorgeous stage costumes (can I keep them all pretty please ? 😂❤️), we sang an opera chorus, we danced, conducted, wined and dined. Can't recommend warmly enough! Thank you so much for the #invite! Will be back soon with more #ballet and #opera with #young lovers! #Royaloperahouse #operawithkids #royaloperahouselondon #familysundaysarethebest #familysundayopera #familydayopera #operasunday
Tears in my eyes at the end of the show, this is one emotional innovative opera, where diversity is truly celebrated, and nature shows its therapeutical side. The Lost Thing at Royal Opera House could be easily out of Gretta’s messaging: inclusivity, nature awareness, action. So reflective of our seismic shift of consciousness around environment, this is one thought provoking Christmas play and so topical. Merry December all, may we all find that Lost Thing!
PS: Thank you so much to Royal Opera House for the invite and complimentary lunch. As usual cheeky kids and enthusiastic impressions, ours.