36 posts categorized "Streaming" Feed

Digital theatre review: Paines Plough's In Tandem: Snippets of life and living during lockdown

The latest digital theatre from Paines Plough is a series of 6 vignettes - longest is 8 minutes - about different aspects of life in lockdown.

In Tandem Credit Michael Windsor-Ungureanu
Image: Michael Windsor-Ungureanu

You sign up with your email and twice a day for three days you get sent an email link to watch a video online.

Written by Travis Alabanza and Magdalena Zarebska-Wegrzyn, three of the films feature a mother and daughter (Sharon D. Clarke and Leanne Henlon) trying to maintain their relationship over Zoom.

They play games, do Zumba, discuss daily events and plant care. The latter is a heavy metaphor for individual needs and care.

The remaining three films feature a Polish couple (Patrycja Durska and Paweł Kumięga) and through their conversation examines their differing approaches to coping with the lockdown.

Continue reading "Digital theatre review: Paines Plough's In Tandem: Snippets of life and living during lockdown" »


Review: What a Carve Up!, digital theatre - slick 90s whodunnit that feels over-egged with modern references

What A Carve Up! is a digital theatre adaptation of Jonathan Coe's satirical murder mystery novel, published in 1994, updated to include contemporary references - think scandals and newspaper headlines.

Alfred Enoch
Alfred Enoch as Raymond Winshaw in What A Carve Up!

On one level it's a documentary-style investigation into the gruesome murder of the notoriously powerful Winshaw family, on another it's darkly comic exposé of corruption among those in positions of power and privilege.

The story is set 30 years later and is told documentary-style through the eyes of Raymond Owen (Alfred Enoch) son of the prime suspect Michael Owen (voiced by Samuel Barnett), a writer who was working on a book about the family when they were murdered.

Owen senior subsequently disappeared leaving Raymond to piece together what happened. He talks directly to camera introducing and commenting on bits of evidence and various clips.

Aside from Enoch, the only on-camera performance is a TV interview with surviving family member Josephine Winshaw-Eaves (Fiona Button) with - Tamzin Outhwaite playing the interviewer. The rest is told using voice-over, 'archive' images and footage.

Continue reading "Review: What a Carve Up!, digital theatre - slick 90s whodunnit that feels over-egged with modern references" »


Review: Uncle Vanya, directed for the screen on the Harold Pinter stage - how does it compare?

Uncle Vanya at the Harold Pinter Theatre, starring Toby Jones, Richard Armitage, Eleanor Eleazar and Aimee Lou Wood, was one of the last plays I saw before theatres closed and it's safe to say I adored it. Which, considering me and Chekhov have a difficult relationship, is saying something. 

Uncle Vanya for screen
Uncle Vanya (c) Photography Seamus Ryan and Artwork Muse Creative Communications

So when it was announced that the cast was reuniting under Covid-safe conditions to re-perform the play on stage but this time directed for camera, I didn't hesitate to get a ticket to see it on the big screen.

But how did it compare to the original stage directed version?

Well, the first thing to say is that the only cast change for the filmed version was Roger Allam stepping in for Ciaran Hinds to play the professor. 

Allam is slightly less intimidating than Hinds but that didn't make any material difference.

As for the filming, without the constraints of a live audience, the piece felt less stagey and more like an actual film than the NT Live productions.

In fact, you quickly forgot you were watching something performed on stage - the only reminders were the doors through which the actors exited the stage. They are part of the theatre and therefore a more contemporary style to the rest of the set.

Continue reading "Review: Uncle Vanya, directed for the screen on the Harold Pinter stage - how does it compare? " »


Digital theatre review: All By Myself - a surface look at self identity in the digital age

A woman is in her dark flat, hunched over two potatoes, some nails and copper wire trying to make a battery. Her phone is running out of juice, there is a power cut and you have to admire her ingenuity.

All By Myself screen shot

It's not the first thing I'd think about if the power went off but then I don't have a popular YouTube channel and social media accounts that need regular feeding.

The play, a production by Part of the Main theatre company for Applecart Arts, is live streaming as part of the Dazed New World festival and explores identity during the Covid crisis when your only connection to the outside world is via the internet.

We see our YouTuber - played by Charlie Blandford - pouting, preening and oozing confidence for the camera while talking about self-care during lockdown.

Although we also see behind the scenes and how the best shots are carefully edited together to create the illusion of perfection and camera poise.

When the camera stops rolling and there is no self-editing she is human - flawed, frustrated, bored, lonely and desperate for that connection.

Continue reading "Digital theatre review: All By Myself - a surface look at self identity in the digital age" »


Sunday theatre question: Will your theatre-watching habits change post-Covid?

Theatres are starting to open again but a return to normality is a long way off. Some theatres have turned to the internet to show old and new work, have you embraced digital theatre during the lockdown?

And will your habits change for the longer term?

I've been impressed by the creativity of theatres in producing work during the Covid crisis. Although it's been the smaller theatre production companies who have really embraced the opportunity with innovative and imaginative work that has made the most of the technology available.

In a recent interview director Katie Mitchell talked about how theatres makers will need to embrace this new landscape, mixing mediums and platforms like they have never done before.

It is a harsh reality that social distancing is going to be here for quite some time. And once this pandemic has been brought under control that doesn't mean there won't be another one.

Lesson's need to be taken from this. Theatres need to find ways of building resilience, embrace the challenge and creative channels on offer.

Continue reading "Sunday theatre question: Will your theatre-watching habits change post-Covid?" »


Torch Oxford Q&A with Ben Whishaw and Katie Mitchell on process and performance in the pandemic age

Ben Whishaw and Katie Mitchell were interviewed live via Zoom by Wes Williams for Torch Oxford on approaches to acting and directing, creativity during the lockdown and how performance will evolve for the new Zoom-world.

Ben Whishaw  Katie Mitchell Torch Oxford

Here are the edited highlights and the link to the full hour-long interview is at the bottom.

How did you come to directing/acting?

Katie:  I didn't really feel any connection with any of the work that was happening in the UK as a young woman in the 1980s.

So most of my influences came from a very big trip, I made to Eastern Europe to Russia, Georgia and Lithuania and Poland, where I researched directors' training and saw amazing practitioners and learned a lot about Stanislavski. And also seeing work that was coming into the UK from abroad.

Anyway, I then did about 15 years of working on naturalism in mainstream text-based theatre. But I always wanted to go back to a more visual arts influence, making work that was to do with the crossover between theatre and other mediums.

And so I then have my breakthrough show going into live cinema, which then set off what I would consider my real career.

It changed my life in a way

Ben: I got taken to an audition for a Youth Theatre when I was 13 by my dad, and it was a Youth Theatre in a town just down the road from the village I grew up in.

I was quite a shy 13-year-old and I think my dad must have thought it would do me good and I liked acting I'd done acting in school but I had never explored it further than that.

So I went to this audition and I got into this youth theatre and it changed my life in a way. And we did extraordinary things there. We did Greek plays and we did adaptations of books and we did devised pieces.

Continue reading "Torch Oxford Q&A with Ben Whishaw and Katie Mitchell on process and performance in the pandemic age" »


Review: Faith Healer, Old Vic In Camera - when 'Zoom theatre' truly comes into its own

I miss sitting in a theatre and watching a live performance. I miss it terribly. But the Old Vic's latest In Camera production - Brian Friel's Faith Healer - not only worked really well as a live stream, it might have worked better.

Faith Healer poster old vic in camera
The 'curtain' during scene changes

I've seen the play before, a production at the Donmar Warehouse in 2016, its format is four monologues told by three different characters all recounting the build-up to a fateful night in a pub in rural Ireland with each having a contrasting take.

The faith healer of the title is Frank Hardy (Michael Sheen) who travels around healing people with his wife Grace (Indira Varma) and manager Teddy (David Threlfall) tow.

Frank questions his ability to heal. He tells us he just knows when something is going to happen and when it is not. His success rate hasn't led to fame and fortune rather, it's a tough life on the road sometimes sleeping in the van.

Genuine or con?

Is his 'ability' genuine or a truth he tells himself or a con?

Both Teddy and Grace have something that resembles faith in his healing.

Teddy refers to it as a 'talent'. His background is in managing seemingly improbable - and amusing - variety acts such as Rob Roy, the bagpipe playing whippet.

Yet there is no perceived irony in how he talks about Frank or any of his 'acts'.

Continue reading "Review: Faith Healer, Old Vic In Camera - when 'Zoom theatre' truly comes into its own " »


Review: Andrew Scott in Three Kings - a master in storytelling, compelling and gripping

If you've ever seen Andrew Scott perform Simon Stephens' monologue Sea Wall you'll know he is a master storyteller, deftly lifting words off the page and turning them into something compelling and gripping.

Andrew Scott Three Kings start

Three Kings, beautifully written by Stephen Beresford, gives him even more scope to sprinkle his performance magic.

Created especially for the Old Vic's In Camera, it is described as a scratch performance but only the lack of embellishments like set and fancy lighting give any sign of this. 

And who needs any of that anyway when you've got 60 minutes of you and Andrew Scott, albeit seen from the other side of a screen.

Funny and heartbreaking

Like Sea Wall, the power is in the story as it is told. And it is a powerful piece Scott drawing out the humour and heartache in equal measure.

Three Kings is about the relationship between a son and his an estranged father.

He meets him briefly at 8 years old but the meeting leaves an indelible mark which will go on shaping their relationship for many years.

His father leaves him a challenge of solving a puzzle involving three coins - the Three Kings of the title.

But it more than a simple test of puzzle-solving, solving this puzzle is hugely weighted.

Continue reading "Review: Andrew Scott in Three Kings - a master in storytelling, compelling and gripping" »


Uncle Vanya with Toby Jones & Richard Armitage is back...in a special filmed version

I saw Uncle Vanya starring Toby Jones and Richard Armitage at the Harold Pinter Theatre at the beginning of March and loved it so much I was going to try and get another ticket but then lockdown happened.

Uncle Vanya (c) Photography Seamus Ryan and Artwork Muse Creative Communications
Uncle Vanya (c) Photography Seamus Ryan and Artwork Muse Creative Communications

Much excitement then that the production is coming back. It's been filmed on stage with almost the entire original cast (Roger Allam is stepping in for Ciaran Hinds). 

It's not a straight-forward film version of the stage production instead it has been directed for the screen by Ross MacGibbon in "a sumptuous re-interpretation of Ian Rickson’s stage production".

The filming took place under strict Covid-19 secure, independently drawn up protocols, with the cast self-isolating and undergoing regular tests and the crew in masks, PPE and socially distancing throughout the process.

It will have a cinematic release before being broadcast by the BBC.

For more details head to https://unclevanyaplay.com/.

Can't wait to see it again in this new version.

It will be interesting to see if other productions that had to close follow suit. What would you like to see back in a filmed version?

Related reading:

Review: Richard Armitage 'magnetic', Toby Jones 'endearing', Aimee Lou Wood 'adorable'

 


Live stream review: Alice by Creation Theatre - taking online performance to a whole new level

Creation Theatre has taken online live performance to a whole new level with its latest family show Alice.

Alice image 1 - Leda Douglas copy
Leda Douglas in Creation Theatre's Alice

Described as a virtual theme park, this is part interactive theatre, part style your own adventure, part video game and it is enjoyed from the comfort of your own living room.

Based on Lewis Carroll's famous stories of Alice in Wonderland and adapted by Zoe Seaton and Charlotte Keatley this has all the well-known characters and familiar scenes of the books.

It is imaginatively brought to life in the style of an old fashioned fairground with a combination of high tech wizardry including AI and good old fashioned theatre craft and entertainment.

Choose your story

We join Alice (Leda Douglas) via a Zoom call to be transported into her fantasy world. Fairground music sets the scene for the roller-coaster adventure to come and for the first part of the show you get to choose where you want go and explore.

A click on an icon takes you off to meet characters including the Mad Hatter, twins Tweedledum and Tweedledee and the Mad March Hare in their Zoom rooms with their own stories and entertainment.

Don't dither in your choices though as you may miss bits.

Continue reading "Live stream review: Alice by Creation Theatre - taking online performance to a whole new level " »