Comedy meets opera meets dinner theatre in the new show at London's King's Head. Conceived and written by Ian Bloomfield, based on his own professional opera experiences, A Comedy of Arias will have a limited season from 30 July to 31 August 2003 (previews 27 July).

In A Comedy of Arias, Roger is an ex Royal Opera House chorus member turned restaurateur and amateur baritone, and Miranda is his long-suffering girlfriend, a waitress and aspiring diva. At the 'Grand Opening' of Roger's new opera café, Miranda's dreams will be fulfilled, albeit over a plate of spaghetti carbonara. But not if Roger's own plans for operatic glory come to fruition.

The new Opera Café production is directed by Andrew C Wadsworth, himself a former opera singer who has also found success as a performer on the musical stage with shows such as Kiss Me Kate (Open Air) and, earlier this year, Gyles Brandreth's Zipp! in the West End.


Meanwhile, as opera gets underway at the King's Head in Islington, cabaret is breaking out in other parts of the city.

Next week, for one night only night only on Monday 28 July 2003, Theatrecares, the theatre arm of AIDS-relief charity Crusaid, will host its tenth anniversary cabaret show at Leicester Square's The Venue, formerly the home of Taboo. The programme comprises both solo and ensemble performances from companies from numerous West End musicals including Les Miserables, We Will Rock You, Bombay Dreams, The Lion King, My Fair Lady, Jerry Springer - The Opera and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. New Stiles and Drewe songs from the upcoming stage adaptation of Mary Poppins will also be performed.

Slightly further ahead, the fringe Jermyn Street Theatre will present "Jermyn Street Jewels", a full three-week season of cabaret nightly running from 3 to 24 August 2003. More than 30 artists are taking part in the series of one-off concerts. The line-up of West End stage regulars includes Rachel Izen, Damien Flood, Jenny Galloway, Nicola Hughes, Arvid Larsen, Leslie Mackie, Alison Jiear, Sophie-Louise Dann, Anita Louise Combe, Simon Grieff and Annalene Beechey as well as others including impersonator Joan Savage, radio chat show host Sadie Nine and raconteur, Zipp! creator and ex MP Brandreth.

- by Terri Paddock