Operation Adelmo

Adelmo Guidarelli fills the space with his rich baritone, and with impressive poise for such an energetic act. He uses a Punch and Judy stand as base camp for a series of opera-themed costume changes ranging from Cleopatra to the clown from Korngold. Singing the Toreador aria from Carmen or other extracts from operas, he’s noticeably pleasant to listen to. The glamorous assistant Miss Ruby is also a delight: gloriously over-the-top, she grins from ear to ear and uses playing a variety of instruments ranging from tambourine to trombone as an excuse to wiggle as much as possible.Sadly, the music isn’t really the point of the show. It’s billed as musical satire but is in fact silliness set to music. One of the most musical jokes was a mash-up aria revealing the similarities of Puccini to Andrew Lloyd Webber; I say revealing, anyone who knows Puccini will already know all the Phantom of the Opera jokes Guidarelli is likely to come up with. One of the least musical jokes was an Ode to Spam, a retexting of the Ode to a Haggis whose humour derived entirely from the supposition that spam is an intrinsically funny substance. One joke stretched over a whole four minutes of the show - a problem which characterises much of the humour in Guidarelli’s act.This nod to Scottish culture was sadly not reflected in the rest of the act, which was shamelessly American-oriented. A low point in terms of international relations is a twenty-minute solo chamber piece apparently satirising Opera by setting itself in a baseball game. In the UK, if you’re into opera it’s unlikely you’ll know the rules of baseball - sorry, Guidarelli. There were a couple of American girls in the audience who seemed to appreciate this skit, but the majority of the audience were as silent as a crowd hushed before a game-winning home run. Don’t think that baseball simile is worth twenty minutes of your time? Then don’t go to the show.

Reviews by James T. Harding

Pleasance Courtyard


Bedlam Theatre

The Duck Pond


The Blurb

See Adelmo Guidarelli, the clown prince of opera, in the show that New York critics likened to Victor Borge and Anna Russell. Both opera novices and experts can relish in this multi-genre night at the opera. www.operationadelmo.com