REVIEW: ‘Madame Chandelier: A Night at the Opera’ at Brighton Fringe

May 19, 2024

Madame Chandelier: A Night at the Opera at the Brighton Fringe is an opera-tunity you don’t want to miss!

The star of the show, Madame Chandelier, with her huge, pink, and magnificent wig, is an absolute delight. Canadian-British opera singer and comedian Delea Shand brings Madame Chandelier to life, physically embodying her heroines with daft accents and hilarious physical and musical comedy that leaves the audience both happy and laughing.

Madame Chandelier tells us her back story as the show develops: she is an aspiring opera singer striving to burst onto the international stage. However, after a series of bruising rejections, one of which is shared with us allowing us to hear a wonderfully sung comedic exploration of delusion. These setbacks don’t stop her – they just fire her up and she turns her attention and vocal power to saving the heroines of opera.

Through humour and her powerful singing, she exposes the misogyny, violence, and abusive relationships that female characters often endure in operatic plots. Divas endlessly die due to¬† miserable curable diseases, jealous fathers/brothers/lovers, suicide, and tragic accidents. Madame Chandelier sings about these grim fates in a delightfully whimsical aria accompanied by an accordion. It’s deliciously dark, but frothy.

But fear not, for Madame Chandelier doesn’t leave the heroines to their dismal destinies. She invents interventions that allow them to live happily ever after, each solution becoming progressively sillier and more entertaining. Her comedic brilliance and superb voice make the show a perfect blend of fun and meaningful commentary. It’s a joy to see opera presented in such a light-hearted manner, yet carrying a serious message underneath.

The show works for people with no knowledge of opera or established fans, the humour and musical talent allowing Madame Chandelier to share her own infectious love and deep understanding of the artform in a silly, sassy, accessible way. You’ll leave having learnt something as well as watching Carmen karate chop her way out of an attempted murder to live on and become a bullfighter! Bravo!

The show is also fun for kids, with some joining in on the light audience participation, adding to the fun. This is a lovely way to enjoy some of your favourite music, gain a deeper understanding of opera, and most importantly, have a good laugh at a wonderfully inventive idea presented with aplomb. Madame Chandelier is a superhero opera singer, a wonderwall woman on a mission to save opera from itself.

One of the show’s highlights was her Queen of the Night aria, performed right in front of¬† us with a running commentary in a guttural Germanic accent, hilariously portraying a mother’s exasperated complaining about her daughter’s lazy attitude towards assassination.

Madame Chandelier’s blend of humour, charm, and vocal talent makes this a perfectly odd Fringe show that is both lovely and enchanting. Madame Chandelier: A Night at the Opera is a performance that hits all the right notes.

Don’t miss out on this operatic Fringe gem her next show is today Sunday, 19th May at 2pm

For more info or to book tickets see the Brighton Spiegeltent site here