Theatre in the time of coronavirus: How to get your theatre fix while theatres are closed

I asked Twitter for theatre-related stuff to do while theatres are dark in the coming weeks and Twitter responded in brilliant style. Here's what fellow theatre fans have suggested plus a few ideas of my own.

Playtext on bookshelf

• You can stream plays from Digital Theatre (£9.99 per month or £7.99 each), not a huge collection but a good handful including All My Sons and The Crucible. 🤓

• Virtual streaming site Livr has smaller fringe productions available to stream via their app - you get a virtual reality headset to use with your phone (I can certainly recommend Ladykiller, which I saw in Edinburgh 2018). Livr.co.uk via @nkhai1987

• Shakespeare's Globe's plays can be streamed, for a fee, on Globe player via @vickster51
 
• The King's Head Theatre is doing daily theatre insight videos which you can find on their Facebook page or Instagram feed. via press release 🤓

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Review: BalletBoyz, Deluxe (streamed via Sadlers Wells Facebook page) - stunning and mesmerising

Last year I was introduced to the BalletBoyz and their show Them/Us moved me to tears. I was looking forward to their new show Deluxe which, fortunately, was filmed before theatres closed and is available to watch online (details below).

BalletBoyz-presents-Deluxe-Bradley-4.18.-Credit-George-Piper
BalletBoyz presents Deluxe: Bradley 4.18. Photo credit - George Piper

Like Them/Us it is two pieces separated by an interval, each has a behind the scenes style intro which explains a bit about how the pieces were developed and their themes.

Bradley 4.18 is the first piece and depicts the different reasons why someone might be awake in the early hours, exploring different personalities.

The music is jazz-influenced and that was a problem for me because I'm not a huge jazz fan, particularly the more free-form stuff.

It made it difficult to fully bond with the piece although it didn't stop me appreciating the individual expressionism in the early parts and the intricacy and precision of the later sections when the dancing became more collaborative.

Continue reading "Review: BalletBoyz, Deluxe (streamed via Sadlers Wells Facebook page) - stunning and mesmerising" »


Video: This Sunday's theatre question is about playwrights

Theatres may be closed but we can still talk and reminisce so this week's theatre question is about your favourite playwright.

Leave your thoughts in the comments.

⬇️

During this period of social distancing, there is still plenty of theatre available to watch online and I've compiled a list of some of what is available.

I'll update the list periodically as new stuff is announced and you can find it here and I'll also be posting about announcements - and reviewing streamed productions I haven't previously seen.

So these are easy to find, I've created a 'streaming' category.

In the meantime, if you've missed a Sunday theatre question, here's a few I've already posted:

The question about unexpected audience experiences.

The question about directors.

The question about which theatre production you'd revive?

If you want to see more of my videos, including my 60-second reviews, follow my YouTube channel, like my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram, whichever is your favourite platform 🤓.


Theatre streaming: National Theatre announces NT Live streaming from April

As soon as theatres went dark last week, my first thought was when the National Theatre would open up its NT Live archive and offer some productions for streaming.

NT Live logo

Well, it's happening, starting on 2 April, every Thursday at 7 pm an NT Live production will be streamed on YouTube.

There are 11 seasons worth of NT Live productions in the archive but people who know more than me about these things reckon it will only be plays from the which are already approved for use by schools. So this list here.

The first production to stream is One Man, Two Guvnors and you can find details of the rest of productions being streamed in April here on the National Theatre's website.

Continue reading "Theatre streaming: National Theatre announces NT Live streaming from April" »


Streamed theatre review: I and You, Hampstead Theatre via IGTV - shouty but sweet

Maisie Williams is wearing the most amazing tights. They are a white, pink and blue Paisley pattern and are teamed with cut off denim shorts, stripey socks and a stripey long-sleeved top.

I&You Production Image5 Photo Credit Manuel Harlan
I & You, Hampstead Theatre. Photo Credit: Manuel Harlan

It's the sort of thing I imagine myself wearing if I were a teenager now and the boldness of her outfit more than matches her personality. 

She plays Caroline in Lauren Gunderson's play I and You, a High School student who is housebound because of prolonged illness.

When Anthony (Zach Wyatt) a student at her school turns up unexpectedly with an English Literature project they have to complete for the next day she isn't particularly friendly.

Caroline has lived with her own mortality for so long that she has got so good at not caring about it, she doesn't care about anything. She certainly doesn't want any sympathy. 

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Theatre streaming: Headlong announces Unprecedented a series of new plays for broadcast during lockdown

Headlong is collaborating with Century Films to present a series of 8 brand new digital plays for broadcast during coronavirus lockdown. 

Unprecedented

'Unprecedented' will be written by a diverse group of writers including James Graham, April De Angelis and Nathaniel Martello-White and recorded using digital conference technology, combining live and pre-recorded material.

Each play will pick up on themes relating to the extraordinary circumstances imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, exploring different aspects of how communal experiences are changing.

The full list of playwrights: April De Angelis, Josh Azouz, Deborah Bruce, John Donnelly, Clint Dyer, James Graham, Jennifer Haley, Sami Ibrahim, Charlene James, Jasmine Lee-Jones, Duncan Macmillan, Nathaniel Martello-White, Chloë Moss, Tim Price and Prasanna Puwanarajah.

Head over to Headlong's website and sign up to their mailing list for more details as and when they appear.

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Want more ideas for theatre and theatre-related stuff you can do while we are in lockdown? Check out this list I've created (updated regularly).

And for this week only you can see Hampstead Theatre's I and You, starring Maisie Williams via IGTV - details in this post. I'll be writing a full review but in the meantime, you can find my 60-second review on Instagram.

Do email me if you hear of more plays being streamed or other theatre tidbits to keep theatre addicts occupied during these dark days.

 

 

 


Video: This Sunday's theatre question is about how you are getting your theatre fix

What a difference a week makes, now that theatres are closed what are you doing to get your fix?

Let me know in the comments and apologies for the missing subtitles in the middle of the video, the Clips app had a moment.

If you are looking for inspiration then I've started compiling a list of theatre-related things you can do during this period of social distancing.

I'll update the list as new stuff is announced and you can find it here and I'll also be posting regularly about announcements - and reviewing streamed productions I haven't previously seen.

So these are easy to find, I've created a 'streaming' category.

In the meantime, if you've missed a Sunday theatre question, here's a few I've already posted:

The question about unexpected audience experiences.

The question about directors.

The question about which theatre production you'd revive?

If you want to see more of my videos, including my 60-second reviews, follow my YouTube channel, like my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram, whichever is your favourite platform 🤓.

 


Theatre streaming: Hampstead Theatre's I and You starring Maisie Williams to be available on Instagram

If like me, you are missing your theatre fix then next week you can watch Hampstead Theatre's 2018 production of I and You for free.

 

I&You Production Image5 Photo Credit Manuel Harlan
I & You, Hampstead Theatre. Photo by Manuel Harlan.

Directed by Ed Hall and starring Game of Throne's Maisie Williams and Zach Wyatt, Lauren Gunderson's play about youth, friendship and living life to the full and will be available on Instagram for 7 days.

The Hampstead production was specially performed, filmed and edited for Instagram’s mobile video platform IGTV, during its run at the theatre, and was previously broadcast for free from 30 November to 3 December 2018.

I&You Production Image 1 Photo Credit Manuel Harlan
I & You, Hampstead Theatre. Photo: Manuel Harlan

It will be made available again on IGTV from 10 am Monday 23 March until 10 pm 29 March via @hampstead_theatre or @lalatellsastory (Lauren Gunderson).

Running Time: IGTV Video Part 1 - 30 minutes/IGTV Video Part 2 - 55 minutes

There is more and more theatre becoming available online either for free or via subscription and earlier this week I compiled a list of plays and some other theatre-related things to do.

I'm going to be updating it over the weekend as more stuff has subsequently become available, if I've missed something, let me know in the comments.

I&You Production Image 5 Photo Credit Manuel Harlan
I & You, Hampstead Theatre. Photo: Manuel Harlan

I've set up a new category - Streaming - to make it easy to find your theatre entertainment while we are on social distancing rules.

Stay safe and well. We'll get through this x


Video: This Sunday's theatre question is about theatre in these worrying and strange times

Don't know about you but I'm feeling really weird and unsettled by what is going on in the UK and globally at the moment with the coronavirus.

Everything seems to be happening so fast, just on Friday Poly and I were talking about when theatres are likely to have to close and what we were going to do in the meantime.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️.

Missed a Sunday theatre question? Here's are the first two I posted:

The question about unexpected audience experiences.

The question about directors.

The question about which theatre production you'd revive?

If you want to see more of my videos, including my 60-second reviews, follow my YouTube channel, like my Facebook page or follow me on Instagram, whichever is your favourite platform 🤓.

 

Review: Spy Plays, Above The Stag - sophisticated gay spy thrillers

Spy plays by David Thame are two pieces based on real events, 55 years apart and linked by themes of espionage and gay liaisons.

Spy Plays programme

The first, London/Budapest, is set in 1955 where successful gay author Adam (Guy Warren Thomas) picks up handsome young airman Reg (Max Rinehart) at a sauna and takes him home.

Adam is erudite and eloquent, quick and observant but perhaps not quick enough - or maybe he doesn't want to see?

Flashbacks reveal more about his background, including a friendship with Guy Burgess who defected to the Soviet Union, which give the authorities enough grounds to be suspicious of his loyalties.

But while Adam may not be as innocent as he claims to be, is Reg being equally honest?

The tension mounts, is the sex functional, a ruse or is there something more, will this liaison end in the usual way?

Kompromat, which was first performed at the Vault Festival last year, has similar tensions although the narrative is reversed starting with final events so the question is how it got to that point.

It is set in 2010 and inspired by the death of GCHQ employee Gareth Williams whose body was found in a sports bag in his Pimlico flat while he was on secondment to MI6 in London. 

Tom (Warren Thomas) is the brainy country bumpkin for whom the freedom and accessibility of London's gay scene have made him joyously wide-eyed, naive or purposefully unobservant?

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Review: Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre - Richard Armitage 'magnetic', Toby Jones 'endearing', Aimee Lou Wood 'adorable'

Richard Armitage's Astrov is looking at Aimee Lou Wood's Sonya, a wave agony and confusion on his face. It is approaching the culmination of what is a charged, layered and yet very funny Uncle Vanya, a production in which not a character is wasted.

19.-Richard-Armitage-and-Aimee-Lou-Wood-in-Uncle-Vanya-c-Johan-Persson
Richard Armitage and Aimee Lou Wood in Uncle Vanya. Photo: Johan Persson

Rarely has Chekhov made me laugh this much and yet equally been heartwarming and sad. 

Conor McPherson's adaptation, as directed by Ian Rickson, elevates the piece into an ensemble tragi-comedy without detracting from the protagonist Vanya played by Toby Jones.

I cared about the characters in a way that I haven't before. I confess, I generally find Chekhov's characters difficult to care about veering far towards the self-pitying for my sympathies.

But this production of Uncle Vanya balances humour and pain, despair and stoicism, laugh out loud moments with those that tug the heartstrings. The woman sat behind me was sobbing all the way through the final scene.

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