With a claim to being the longest run in history of Puccini’s work, OperaUpClose continues playing La bohème in a Kilburn pub, prior to a transfer to the West End’s Soho Theatre.

Catching the production for a second time at the Cock Tavern, I was lucky to see a completely different set of principals (there’s a rotating cast), with a superb Mimi in Belinda Evans and a sharp and fresh Musetta from Rhian Evans, while Laurence Meikle shone in the often overlooked role of Schaunard.

La bohème moves to Dean Street in July, where there’s bound to be a slight loss of spontaneity and danger, particularly in the pub-set second act, where singers currently mingle with drinkers and there’s a real air of unpredictability. During Musetta’s waltz, I had an old boy behind me yelling into his mobile “I’m down my local pub. There’s some opera going on. It’s very good.”

Since opening in December, the production has captured the public imagination, with a sell-out run. In fact, the audience now spills onto the set, with chairs around the edge of the bedsit to allow for greater capacity (opera up closer).

If you can snaffle a ticket for the Kilburn run, do catch the show there, as there’s something charmingly unique about the original. If not, the Soho performances are now on sale and you could hardly do better during the quiet Summer weeks. Whatever, don’t miss this wonderfully immediate evocation of student life and love while you can.

OperaUpClose's La bohème opens at the Soho Theatre on 27 July and you can book on 020 7478 0100 or www.sohotheatre.com. For returns for the Kilburn run, or to book for a special Gala performance on 11 May, call 08444 771 000 or log-on to www.cocktaverntheatre.com