www.timeout.com 4 ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

One of the growing number of classically trained performers turning to cabaret, Sarah-Ann Cromwell is the only one delivering a full set of opera. ItŐs a nice USP but this is far from a gimmicky show: it's simply a pleasure, partly because of the quality of Cromwell's voice but also because of her enormous charm, engaging humour and relaxed manner. The set is loosely structured around her career switch to singing from teaching (that experience might account for her down-to-earth ease with an audience, and her delivery being a trifle de trop at times) and, after opening with a Bach oratorio, she wisely balances canonical pieces with works in English, from an excitably gossipy 'Trouble in Tahiti' to unfamiliar, almost music-hall-style songs by female Victorian composers. Each is lightly but effectively contextualised and Cromwell's passion for the works themselves and her performance of them is plain. The benefit of creating her own show, she notes, is that 'I get to do the music that I want to do, not the music I ought to do'. That pleasure shines through from beginning to end.

Ben Walters - www.timeout.com 4****

www.Broadwaybaby.com 4 ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Sarah-Ann Cromwell, a Birmingham lass who has discovered that 'you don't have to be posh to sing opera', chats and sings up a storm in Diva Gigs. Charting her opera journey, which has taken her around the UK and Europe, Cromwell summons several colourful characters to tell her story, including a disdainful opera coach and Rhydian, of X Factor fame. With the help of a skillful pianist [Ana-Maria Andritoiu] who isn't afraid to join in the fun, Cromwell blasts out the numbers that have shaped her career, accompanied by hilarious explanations of the operatic story-lines, with the disclaimer 'it sounds much more romantic in Italian'.

Cromwell breaks free from the yoke under which many female comedians find themselves - the idea that women can only be funny if they are making jokes about being women and it is this which makes her show so remarkable. Apart from a brief tribute to her favourite female singer and songwriter, Cromwell makes no mention of her gender, reaching instead for witty tales about Walsall and her music students, which leave many of the audience in fits of laughter.

This, Cromwell's first show at the Fringe, is a triumph. She makes mention in her act of an occasion when her gags were met with stony silence, but she needn't worry about Diva Gigs. This is a show for all ages and nationalities, for the posh and the proudly working-class and proves that both music and laughter are pretty much universal.

Kathleen Sargeant - www.Broadwaybaby.com 4****

ScotsGay Magazine 4 ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Sarah-Ann Cromwell and accompanist Ana-Maria Andritiou [with the essential support of page-turner Helen Ross] dish the dirt on the struggles of the aspiring classical singer.

Sarah-Ann is a vivacious performer who tells a good story, creates vivid characters and amusingly presents for us the trials and tribulations of an aspiring diva - the infuriating and intimidating behaviour of rivals in a singing competition and the world-weary and patronising attitude of the opera coach consulted to try and establish her voice type which was, mystifyingly, unclear to her teachers at the Birmingham Conservatoire. The main lesson she learned at the Conservatoire is that "you don't have to be posh or know posh people to sing in opera": she takes great delight in teaching this to her warmly-appreciative audience.

Interwoven into Sarah-Ann's entertaining narrative is an excellent mixture of amusing and serious classical pieces, some delightful Victorian drawing-room ballads and "Dinah's response to the latest 1950s blockbuster film", which gives full rein to her comic and dramatic talents, both physical and vocal. I was delighted to hear in full Eliza's aria from Soviet-born Australian composer Elena Kats-Chemin's ballet Wild Swans [which most people in the UK would recognise as the Lloyds TSB ad's irritatingly unforgettable tune]

I smiled wryly at the truth of her narrative and accurate portrait-painting and greatly appreciated her encore "I'm tone deaf" which ably demonstrated the talent of both singer and pianist. The audience loved her and didnŐt want to let her go: Katherine Jenkins - watch out!

Mary Woodward - ScotsGay Magazine 4****

Three Weeks 3 ☆ ☆ ☆

Opera is only for posh people, right? Sarah-Ann Cromwell challenges this preconception; she now makes a living on the opera circuit, but started out as a school teacher from Birmingham. She begins by telling us about her life: singing, teaching and terrifying opera coaches. She follows with a selection of her favourite pieces, ranging from Mozart to Victorian songs to the music on the Lloyd's TSB advert (Kats-Chernin's 'Eliza's Aria'). Cromwell is a strong singer and her accompanist, Ana Maria Andritoiu, is equally talented on the piano. The potential is there, but the show lacked a theme to tie everything together. If you're curious about opera, 'Diva Gigs' is a good place to start.

Samantha Strachan - www.threeweeks.co.uk 3***

Diva Gigs by @SarahACromwell highly recommended: a funny, charming not to mention lung-busting set of opera, much of it in English #EdFringe

Ben Walters - @not_television

That girl is a scream .... Just what we need to bring Opera to the public I will look out for her performances ... She was just great....

Margaret Wayte www.edfringe.com Audience review

Earsplittingly good!

Jane Lamb www.edfringe.com Audience review

Just saw #DivaGigs -wonderful opera cabaret! @SarahACromwell Only at the #EdFringe

Lauren Junor Cameron - @ljunorcam

@SarahACromwell you're very welcome! Keep being awesome and enjoy the rest of the festival :-)

- @not_television

'Damn right. I went and really enjoyed Sarah-Ann's singing and I'm DEF not posh, nor do I talk proper or have English as my first language! Go and get culture whilst enjoying the wonderful talents of a charming young lady!'

Ross McElhinney Facebook - Facebookc

adored fun stories and lovely rendition of Semele by @SarahACromwell #divagigs

Melinda Hughes - @melhugsopera

"..quite enchanting"

Buxton Festival Fringe

"Thank you, Sarah-Ann, I came away feeling like I'd known you for years."

Martin Wood Buxton Festival Fringe

@SarahACromwell oi oi. U rock! X

zara sykes 'SYKES' - @sykesmusic

Go and see this terrific show. Money well spent, and I would go again if she closer.

Ron Wild - Facebookc

Great diva gig at Ingestre.. not only .fab voice, but entertaining and funny..loved it!

Dianne Baxendine - Facebookc

This afternoon (Friday) we were treated to an hour of song and chat from Sarah-Ann Cromwell, an established soprano, come down from the lofty heights of opera. "You don't have to be posh", she tells us, "to be an opera singer. In fact you don't even need to know any posh people". Accompanied by a talented pianist, Sarah-Ann told us stories of her life interspersed with a selection of arias both classical and contemporary. In addition to her beautiful voice which accommodated the different styles of song she also treated us to a series of caricatures of personalities in her life and the characters within the stories of her songs. Her goal is to give opera an 'ordinary' face and the audience acknowledged this when they laughed and chatted with her. My favourite was the wordless voice piece, "Eliza Aria" from Wild Swans, recently made famous through a TV advert for a well known High Street bank. (It was interesting to discover its origin). I also enjoyed the three pieces by Liza Lehmann; quite enchanting. My least favourite was the closing song, 'tone deaf', but that was just me, I think, the rest of the audience chuckled through it. Thank you, Sarah, for a chilled out afternoon; well worth the trek through the rain and thank you also for taking the risk to be personal with your audience: I came away feeling like I'd known you for years.

Martin Wood - Buxton Festival Fringe Music Review