Monday, August 31, 2020

OLIVER TOMPSETT CONCERT (U R Live at the Umbrella Rooms)****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/olivertompsett?autoplay=1 It costs £10 to rent it but you can watch it as many times as you like for a whole week!

Available until: It’s been on the site for ages and I haven’t heard anything about them taking it down.

This is another brilliant concert from U R Live! Oliver Tompsett is so talented and he’s such a nice man too. He’s put together a really clever programme which shows how versatile he is but it also meant he could talk about his life and career and about lockdown in a really natural way that flowed from one song to the next.

HENRY V (Shakespeare Happy Hours)***

 

By Alan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WF_PiT_fe8

Available until: indefinitely

Once upon a time there was a young king named Henry, the fifth in England to bear this name. At first he was reluctant to become king but having gained the throne, he wanted to be the best king he could be. He knew that he might also have some claim to the French throne and sought to find out the truth about his heritage. But France already had a king who was far from happy to hear of Henry’s aspirations …

Sunday, August 30, 2020

TROILUS & CRESSIDA (The Show Must Go Online)***


By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G5xBbLTri5A

Available until: Indefinitely

I should have known really. I’ve been offering to help the younger generation with the blog for a couple of weeks now but they always told me I was too old. Then suddenly they change their mind and I walk right into it.

It’s not so much that they want a few words of wisdom from someone who is (as they’ve pointed out more than once) much older than them. (Not too sure about the ‘much’ part, but there’s teens for you.)

Saturday, August 29, 2020

INTERMISSIONS CONCERT 4****

 

By Tommy

Link: https://page.inplayer.com/Intermissions/

Available until: 1st September 2020

First of all, I would like to extend my appreciation to the young people who created this blog for allowing me to become part of this enterprise and particularly for giving me the opportunity to write the final review of what has been an extremely successful and enjoyable series. As someone who is undeniably better-advised to keep his mouth shut when it comes to singing (though I can lay claim to being a very poor violinist), I can’t promise a very technical review, but I believe that the Arts are for everybody and that everybody’s views are relevant, even those of a parent.

FOR QUALITY PURPOSES (Stan’s Café Theatre)****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCGCH9RBCqA

Available until: the cows come home probably

I don’t know what annoys me the most about call centres. The fact that the people who work in them are so annoying and patronising or the fact that everyone expects me to have worked in one because that’s what out of work actors do. I mean, how dare they assume I’ve ever been out of work? Even if they know I have, it’s really not polite to mention it. Do I keep harping back to the time you were made redundant? No, I do not. Why would I want to remind you of something so stressful and traumatic and… boring? So don’t ask me, okay?

INTERMISSIONS CONCERT 3***

 

By Cal

Link: https://page.inplayer.com/Intermissions/

Available until: 1st September 2020

We call this series a series of concerts, but to me, it’s more reminiscent of a TV series with all the latest news in musical theatre. Everything from the very professional credits (with their delightful hint of irony), the regular features, the ‘here’s an interview I made earlier’ moments to the live interviews and performances. And I think it’s absolutely brilliant.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

SCROUNGER (Finborough Theatre)*****

 

By Arran

Link to where the live stream will be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1o8jvP5djME&feature=youtu.be

Link to where the subtitled version will be: https://www.scenesaver.co.uk/production/scrounger-subtitled/

Link to where the audio-described introduction will be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T6A_W1u-fEg&feature=youtu.be

Available for: 24 hours from 31st August

I don’t usually write reviews, but I wanted to review Scrounger because it is such a special and important play for people with disabilities. It was available for three days at the start of August and it is being brought back for 24 hours at the end.

This play is by Athena Stevens. She is a playwright and she has a disability. This is a fictional play, but it is based on a real incident she had at the airport. I am not sure how much is real and how much is fiction.

INTERMISSIONS CONCERT 2***

 

By Alan

Link: https://page.inplayer.com/Intermissions/

Available until: 1st September 2020

I have only reviewed Shakespeare before so I hope this is ok. I like musical theatre too.

Megan described the set up really well in her review so I won’t explain everything again, but this is a series of concerts in West End star Alice Fearn’s garden and for each show she is visited by a few West End stars who sing and have a chat to her. It’s outside so it’s not so dangerous and there is social distancing.

GODSPELL (Hope Mill Theatre)****

 

 By Cal

Link: https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/godspell

Available until: You can book the show for tomorrow or the next day and have 24 hours to watch it.

This concert was made in lockdown to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the musical Godspell. The cast filmed their music either in the privacy of their homes or a secluded outdoor venue and the songs were all edited together in order.

I have never actually seen Godspell so I don’t know how much speaking there usually is. There was just one speech in this and it was very effective having just one because it gave it extra impact, but I’m not sure how obvious the story would be to someone who didn’t know it. There is one very striking image late on which will probably make things very clear for most people, but until that point, it could be a concert of songs with no obvious story. This might be frustrating for people who want to follow the story, but Godspell has some great music and it’s wonderfully performed so that wasn’t something that bothered me – and if it has aroused my curiosity about a staged version of the musical, that isn’t a bad thing!

INTERMISSIONS CONCERT 1*****

 

By Megan

Link: https://page.inplayer.com/Intermissions/

Available until: 1st September 2020

We missed the Intermissions shows when they were new but we were given a special offer of watching all four concerts for £20 (they’re £10 each) and that is so generous so we decided to watch them and I’m so glad we did.

THE FAIRY QUEEN (Glyndebourne Festival Opera)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U-esDHd6CPc&list=PLpmwWuIh57wY66Jq06IauzKw_EU_iFGAs

Available until: 30th August, 5pm

The Fairy Queen is quite difficult to classify. The music was written by Henry Purcell as incidental music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream and was played between the scenes. The score includes songs, but the singers don’t really have consistent characters or tell a story of their own. Many people call it a semi-opera, which probably also makes it a semi-play, but there is also dancing so is it also partly a ballet? Semi means half so I think if you include ballet, it’s a trient-opera, play and ballet. I’ve watched and I’m still not sure what I’d say it is.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

LOUISE DEARMAN CONCERT (UR Live at the Umbrella Rooms)*****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/louisedearman (You will need to create an account and pay £10 but you get access for a week)

Available until: You can rent it for a week but I think it will be available to rent for at least a month because they’ve got an Oliver Tompsett concert on there from about a month ago (which I’m glad about because I want to see it, he’s hot)

This concert is £10 for a week’s access which would be a lot if I had to pay it but I didn’t and the concert would cost a lot more if you went in person and this way you don’t have to pay for transport which might be full of germy people or a really expensive meal which is really nice but everyone’s taking their masks off and how do you know where they’ve been? Why can’t people just be responsible like me? I haven’t been on a date since March, that’s FIVE MONTHS. I don’t think I’ve ever gone that long without kissing a boy in my WHOLE LIFE. It’s a terrible sacrifice but I have to do the right thing for humanity.

THE TWO NOBLE KINSMEN (Shakespeare Happy Hours)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=52zWz0WsGjY

Available until: Indefinitely

I don’t think I’d want to live in Shakespeare’s time. It probably wasn’t as hard for the people as it seems to us now, but if I’d lived in Shakespeare’s time, my family wouldn’t have adopted me, I couldn’t marry my boyfriend (except maybe if one of us was as adept at cross-dressing as Viola and Rosalind), my brother Angel would probably have died when he was a baby and my sister Megan would be disabled and couldn’t have learned to dance. We really are very lucky in modern times, though of course not everyone has been as lucky as us. I really hope that, in the future, a lot more people will be lucky. It’s true that in 2020, we are fighting against disease, prejudice and very questionable political decisions, but all that happened in Shakespeare’s time too. We know that from his plays.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

KING HENRY VI Parts I, II and III (Shakespeare Happy Hours)****

 

By Alan

Link to Part I https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm1Dmjl0s6o

Link to Part II https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6e7I5QEmfs

Link to Part III https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F8GuMuKJxQ

Available until: indefinitely

Once upon a time there was a king and a queen who had a baby boy called Henry. For nine months they were happy but then Henry’s father died, leaving Henry as king. Henry’s mother Catherine was French and the English nobles did not trust her and she was not allowed to look after him. Henry had lots of help with ruling his kingdom but when he finally became king on his own when he was fifteen he did not find the duties easy. He was a quiet man and had trouble making decisions. Also a man named Richard believed should be king rather than Henry. All he could do was trust his friends to help him but what if his friends weren’t as trustworthy as he thought?

Monday, August 24, 2020

ALBION (Almeida Theatre)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000lwgy/albion

Available until: Tuesday 15th September

Albion is a brilliant, thought-provoking and very sad play which I probably don’t understand completely in all its layers, but which I would definitely consider watching on iPlayer again if I have time. Or seeing live onstage if it is revived after the theatres open, though it seems unlikely considering Albion has been presented twice since 2017 and so many planned theatre productions have been postponed – and perhaps might never happen.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

GOOD DOG (The Space)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9K_QH3p3zI&t=9s

Available until: Unknown

This film is called good dog in lower case so I am going to write it that way in this review. It was adapted by Natalie Ibu from a play with the same name and stylisation by Arinzé Kene. The film was commissioned by The Space and supported by the BBC and Arts Council England and directed cleverly and sensitively by Ibu and Andrew Gillman, telling us little, showing us a lot – but not showing everything.

THE SOUND OF MUSIC (Zoom production)***

 

By Imogen

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyOTYl7CNe8

Available until: Unknown

This is a Zoom production of The Sound of Music by four ‘theatre kids’. They all obviously have some musical and dramatic training and one of them in particular is exceptional but there are numerous technical issues throughout like an inability to sing in unison with each other and with the backing track which sounded out of tune anyway but being in unison is a real issue on Zoom which a lot of professionals have had problems with and the backing track might be a Zoom issue too. The problems are understandable considering the limitations of technology but if this kind of thing makes you want to tear your hair extensions out and they’re the type that’s difficult to put back in maybe you should watch Carrie Underwood’s Sound of Music instead.

Friday, August 21, 2020

TWELFTH NIGHT (The Show Must Go Online)****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4m9oONcXWvQ

Available until: Indefinitely

I can’t believe how good The Show Must Go Online is! Every single week they find new ways of making brilliant plays even more brilliant and they find new talented actors as well as bringing back people who have acted with them before in completely different roles. They surprise me every week because even though I know they’ll be good, I never guess all the different ways they’ll make the plays special.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

THE LIGHT SHINES ON: THE TELEPHONE (Edinburgh International Festival/Scottish Opera)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkdksRstd80

Available until: Unknown

The Edinburgh International Festival isn’t officially happening this year. Like the Proms, the Glyndebourne Festival and almost every other live performance, it was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, also like the Proms and Glyndebourne and many others, the Edinburgh International Festival didn’t want to leave its fans with nothing to watch this year, so they have filmed quite a few different performances which we can enjoy at home. The series is called The Light Shines On and there are a lot of different videos for us to enjoy.

MACBETH (Shakespeare Happy Hours)****

 

by Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPsSTIClIdA

Available until: Indefinitely

A lot of skill goes into the Shakespeare Happy Hours productions. I’ve heard and read about The Show Must Go Online, who are rightly lauded for their excellent and innovative productions, but they’re not the only online Shakespeare company and they all have something unique to bring to the world of Zoom productions.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

DIDO AND AENEAS (Proms)****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p08kd5cq (Radio)

Available until: 6 October 2020

There isn’t a proper Proms season this year because of the stupid coronavirus messing up everything but Radio 3 have been broadcasting repeats of old Proms and I think it’s a good idea even if they’re not showing the Proms I really want to see again. But most of them are so long ago I can’t actually remember them so it’s not like I’m thinking “Oh no not that again.” This performance is from 2003. I’m sure I look grown-up enough to remember 2003 but I actually wasn’t born then.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Shakespeare Happy Hours)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVJWYHxajHs

Available until: Indefinitely

I enjoy all the Zoom productions I have seen in lockdown, but one thing which makes Shakespeare Happy Hours special is the fact they cast their plays from the same small group of actors. Not all the actors are in every production, but they all seem to perform regularly. It is really nice that I can watch the opening credits and see who’s playing who and get excited because I remember them from a previous role.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

HAMLET (Glyndebourne Festival Opera)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKCSZMfkv5k

Available until: Sunday 23rd August, 9pm

I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy reviewing a version of Hamlet quite so soon after The Show Must Go Online’s magnificent production of Shakespeare’s play, but I reminded myself that an opera is a different medium and probably nearly as different from the play as an Agatha Christie TV adaption is from the actual novel. Actually, the opera was closer to the play than I was expecting, even using Shakespeare’s text, but I did find I was thinking of the opera as a piece on its own merits as an opera, rather than just as a version of the play which inspired it.

Monday, August 17, 2020

RICHARD III (Shakespeare Happy Hours)*****

 

By Alan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHFFPTmZkP8

Available till: indefinitely

Once upon a time there was a man called Richard who really wanted to be king. Richard would do anything in order to bring him closer to the crown, whether that meant picking up wives at funerals or killing anyone who happened to be in his way. When his brother, King Edward IV, fell ill to natural causes, Richard’s dream finally seemed to be within his grasp. But it is very difficult to cause so much suffering without making enemies and Richard needs to watch out…

I really liked this performance of Richard III. Colin Hurley plays Richard as a gentle man in public and his opening speech is quite chatty. But he smiles like a politician and that puts me right off. He’s really a vicious man and some people can see it but some people can’t.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

TURANDOT (Croatian National Theatre in Zagreb on OperaVision)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9-GvuLZnds&t=2s

Available until: February 2021

Very strange things happen in Turandot. Strange and horrific. Usually, the music is enough to ensure we don’t think about this in too much detail, but it’s more difficult in this production, which seems not only to focus on the horror but to revel in it.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

HAMLET (The Show Must Go Online)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIDkPcYdSG0&t=8s

Available until: Indefinitely

The actors were so overwhelmed by their incredible performance, they could barely speak to introduce themselves at the end. I can really understand that. I think I’ve forgotten how to write, but I’ll do my best.

This was an absolutely outstanding Hamlet. It must be a difficult play to put on anyway with the length of it, the emotions, the physical challenges and not knowing which version of the play to use. The idea of Hamlet on Zoom must have been quite daunting, even for the wonderful TSMGO, but as always, they rose to the challenge and were brilliant.

Friday, August 14, 2020

UNDER A CARDBOARD SEA (Bristol Old Vic)***

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOSqkaioqF8

Available until: Unknown

Under the Cardboard Sea is a play for over 100 children and young people (aged 5-25) from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. I think the children had lots of the ideas and Silva Semerciyan wrote the script for them and turned it into a story where everything was linked up. I was very impressed by the inventiveness in the story. There were lots of ideas I haven’t heard of before.

GUILIO CESARE (Glyndebourne)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CLyrAaHmdvo

Available until: 5pm, 16th August 2020

This is a production from 2005, about six months before I was born. I obviously don’t remember when it was new but we have it on DVD and even before I watched it for the first time, I knew about the production and some of the circumstances around it. I think it’s clear right from the start how special this performance is. It’s a long opera, at just under four hours (without interval), but the music is so beautiful, the plot is so exciting and the singers make the characters so interesting, even when you don’t like them, it seemed a lot shorter. Even though I knew the opera, it was easy to get caught up in the story and I wanted to see and hear what happened next.

Thursday, August 13, 2020

HENRY IV PARTS 1 & 2 (SHAKESPEARE HAPPY HOURS)****

 

By Alan

Link for Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_PC19kJl2Q&t=5s

Link for Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=584RluWxGts

Available until: Indefinitely

Once upon a time there was a Prince named Hal. His father was the King and as Hal was the oldest son he would become king when his father died. However Hal did not want to be king. He was far too busy drinking in taverns and playing tricks upon his friends to have any interest in ruling a whole country. King Henry IV despaired of his son and his undesirable friends but he had other matters to command his attention. His old enemy Hotspur was leading a rebellion against Henry IV so the king had to gather his Arsenal against him – and he also had to fight a battle wish himself when his health began to fail.

THE MAD HATTER’S TEA PARTY***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M6nvPOWTu5U&t=1s

Available until: 14th August 2020

When I first noticed this on youtube, I assumed it was a ballet for children. The title suggested a performance for children. It was clearly based on or at least inspired by a children’s book. It also seemed to be a Royal Ballet production so I thought it was a ballet for children and I thought I’d get my six year old sister to watch it.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

WATCHING ROSIE (Original Theatre)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://originaltheatreonline.com/productions/3/watching-rosie – you will need to register for an account in order to watch the film but it is free.

Available until: 30th September 2020.

Watching Rosie is the story of a young lady called Rosie and her grandmother, Alice, who suffers from dementia. The title refers to the fact that when Rosie video-calls Alice, Alice feels that she is watching her granddaughter on the television. It’s a short film written by Louise Coulthard and directed by Michael Fentiman to help draw people’s attention to the many people in the UK who are suffering from dementia and separated from their families due to the pandemic and to encourage us to donate to Dementia UK.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

NO MILK FOR THE FOXES (BEATS & ELEMENTS)***

 


By Jack

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIL841QsEME

Available until:

Now this is my sort of theatre.

Not that I mind the other sort of theatre. I mean it keeps Imogen out of my way and I’m all in favour of anything that does that. As long as I don’t actually have to go and watch the stuff. But it’s all a bit fake, isn’t it? You couldn’t ever imagine having a real conversation like that. Not without giving them a really weird look and then slowly edging away.

THE BARN PRESENTS: THE MUSIC OF DOMINIC POWELL****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDQjlp2Zlbc&t=42s

Available until: Indefinitely

The Barn Presents… concerts don’t always have great music. Each concert is all about a composer no one has ever heard of but they have some big West End stars to sing them. So if you’re missing the West End stars the concerts are great to watch.

Monday, August 10, 2020

JEKYLL & HYDE (OLD VIC)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPRP-ijwWP4&t=593s

Available until: Wednesday 12th August 2020.

I think Louise, Imogen or Megan would be better at reviewing dance than me, not because they’re girls but because they’ve been dancing for years and I didn’t get the opportunity until I was a teenager and by then, it seemed a bit late. But the recommended age is 16+ so we feel the reviewer ought to be 16+.

This performance includes strobe lighting, partial nudity, scenes of a sexual nature, sexual violence and physical violence.

THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (Shakespeare Happy Hours)***

                              

By Imogen

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zfeUxcIOW68&t=2012s

Available until: Indefinitely

Shakespeare Happy Hours is a very good idea because it cuts all the Shakespeare plays down to an hour and a half. I think that’s quite enough. Who wants to sit through four hours of talking? Of course, when I play Portia I want to do the longest possible version so I get paid more but if I’m watching I prefer it to be as short as possible.

846 (THEATRE ROYAL STRATFORD EAST)

By Cal

Link: http://stratfordeast.com/get-involved/stratford-east-podcast/

Available until: Indefinitely, I would guess. There are podcasts available right back to 2018.

 

Episode 1: Growing Up in Racist Britain

Episode 2: Police Brutality

Episode 3: The Effects of Racism on Mental Health

 

I’m not going to review these podcasts. It doesn’t seem right to talk about how good they are, to rate them as a piece of art. The message is too important for that and the podcasts are not designed to entertain.

But I hope you’ll be able to listen to them.

DEAR IRELAND PART FOUR (ABBEY THEATRE)****

 

By Louise

Link to Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agou8cchdsk

Link to all parts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Owu9uvduEXs&list=PL2z1O2VioKplw05TdCnBSA4lLAyjQp4W5

Available until: 198th September 2020, 10pm

I don’t think we’re Irish, though as some of my siblings are adoptees, we come a little bit from all over the place! We have Scotland, Wales, England, Cyprus, Slovakia, the USA and we’re fairly sure there is also somewhere in Asia on our family tree. It would be lovely if we were Irish too. But we do have one connection to the Abbey Theatre in Ireland – my mum has performed in a play there.

AS YOU LIKE IT (THE SHOW MUST GO ONLINE)*****

By Megan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwk8nTEmIuI

Available until: Indefinitely

My name is Megan and I am nine and I am probably the youngest person who will post on this blog. I know I am too young really but my mum and my granny and my older siblings are going to read this and post it for me.

The Show Must Go Online is a company that was formed in lockdown in order to do online live readings of Shakespeare’s plays once a week. Although most of the lockdown restrictions have been lifted, they are still continuing with the plays. I am really happy they are doing this as I have enjoyed all the plays very much (apart from Titus Andronicus which my mum thinks is too violent for me) and we can’t go to the theatre at the moment as they are all closed.

What to Watch Now

I JUST CALLED TO SAY (The Covid-19 Monologues/Elysium Theatre Company)*****

  By Emma Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-sng2hPgYvE&t=4s   Available until: Unknown I Just Called to Say is a really emo...