Wednesday, September 30, 2020

BOOKED OUT (Future Voices/Southwark Playhouse)

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA6qkQhiQf8

Available until: Unknown

Future Voices is an annual project run by Southwark Playhouse. Playwrights spend eight months working with students aged 14-18, with the aim of each student writing a short play. Usually, these plays are performed at the Southwark Playhouse. This year, a certain virus had other ideas so the actors filmed the plays at home, using Zoom and iPhones. The plays have been put on youtube and on the Southwark Playhouse website (and I’m sure the last thing they want is some actor/writer giving his opinion, but you just can’t shut me up sometimes).

This first play is by Aimee Brown. The central character is Francesca Rosa Brown, played by Jessica Hardwick. She’s at the local library and she has a job to do. The lovely librarian (Eva Fontaine) wants to keep the library quiet so everyone can concentrate, but that’s not always possible when Francesca is there.

THE SPACE BETWEEN US (Compacts)*****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yM0y_T-Bet8&feature=youtu.be

Available until: Unknown

This is a really sad play but it’s so good. It’s a conversation between a father and his son. The mum has decided to leave the dad and take their little boy with her. It doesn’t say why or what’s happened, but the implication is they’re leaving for good and the dad won’t have access. It’s likely to be a very long time before they meet again.

JOIE DE VIVRE (A Light in Dark Places)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OBX2mxOy4zo

Available until: Unknown

I think these plays are a really good idea. Some of my adopted siblings have had or still have mental health problems and I think it helps them to know people are writing plays about people like them. These plays raise awareness and provide hope and they also show that although mental health problems can have a really big impact on people’s lives, there is more to each person than their mental health. They all have their own personalities, their own likes and dislikes, their own ambitions, their own lives. The characters I have seen in these plays are all complete people- and really nice people. Their mental health is only a part of who they are.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

WEST END UNPLUGGED EPISODE 2****

 


By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkxwINEu7_g

Available until: How am I meant to know?

The singing in this show is obviously great. I mean, Aisha Jawando and Mazz Murray. OBVIOUSLY it’s going to be good.

But one thing I liked about this episode is how positive it is. I completely hear all the people who are having a tough time in lockdown. Of course you are. It’s horrible. It’s scary. And… what if we Thespians end up having to get a REAL job? There are so many terrifying things going on and we don’t know when it’s going to be good again. Every time it looks like things might be getting better, it all goes to you-know-what again. I say it’s a DISASTER and no-one tells me I’m exaggerating. Everyone always tells me I’m exaggerating. Until now.

ROMEO & JULIET (Globe Theatre)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFBWXRqa7Gs

Link to audio-described version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=806Br_XIqAo

Available until: February half-term 2021

This production is an introduction to the play for young people. I might not be the best person to review it because I already know the play, but I am probably the right sort of age.

The play has been cut down to one hour, thirty-seven minutes. I think it works really well. It tells every part of the story which it needs to tell and I didn’t notice anything which was missed out that I thought should have been left in. Director Michael Oakley has set this production in the present day. The language and a lot of the laws and conventions in the play (for example, Juliet is legally allowed to marry at fourteen) stay the same, but the characters wear really nice modern clothes designed by Alex Lowde and look like modern people. It might help people to identify with the characters if they look like us. The production has done really well with emphasising the ways Romeo, Juliet and the other characters aren’t very different from us and feel things like we do.

THE MURDERER (Clown Funeral)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yALJvqK59QU

Available until: Unknown

There are a lot of plays on the subject of therapists and patients, some of them extremely good and some… not so good. This play looks at the subject from an angle which I haven’t seen before. A female Murderer is in a rehabilitation programme. She has already completed part of it and is now at the stage where she is given a carer. Once she has passed this part of the treatment, she’ll move on to the next stage.

Monday, September 28, 2020

IMAGINARY FRIEND (360/365 Film Festival)****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://vimeo.com/24354145

Available until: Unknown

This isn’t a play and it wasn’t filmed in lockdown, but I’m reviewing it anyway because it’s written by Reece Dinsdale and I adore him as Albert in Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime (the old series from the 80s which is really good, not the David Walliams monstrosity). Well worth a watch. After you’ve watched Imaginary Friend

HAPPILY EVER AFTER (Greenwich Theatre/Action Transport Theatre/The Proud Trust)*****

 

By Ricky & Lottie

Link: https://greenwichtheatre.org.uk/easter-treats

Available until: Unknown

We reviewed this before but we write longer reviews now so now Happily Ever After is back we made the review longer. It might be our favourite play ever.

THE NARCISSISTIC FISH (Scottish Opera)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6FLpEyzSBw

Available until: Unknown

Warnings: Contains scenes of mild violence, adult language and preparation of fish dishes. Not recommended for ichthyophobes and probably isn’t suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

This is an interesting one! It’s 13 minutes of in the lives of three chefs who work at a restaurant called The Narcissistic Fish – brothers Angus and Kai, and Belle, who is paid less but is the brains of the business. Angus and Kai receive some news which they both react to in different ways, while Belle has to make a decision about her future.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

KING LEAR (The Show Must Go Online)*****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpS33G8-HyM

Available until: Forever and ever

Trigger warnings: violence, blood, gore, implied vomit, suicide attempt, flashing lights and lots of death. I got my husband to hold my hand and I thoroughly recommend it (just not with MY husband. Get your own).

I really wanted to review this one because this is the only Shakespeare play I’ve been in! I played Gloucester. I’m obviously much too young and handsome to play Gloucester (I wanted to play Regan), but student productions tend not to have a very big age range. We got to do some of it on a trip to the Globe too! But obviously when I’m telling people I don’t always go into that much detail because who wants to hear details? So I usually just say ‘I played Gloucester in King Lear at the Globe’. I’m not usually succinct, but I do like to make the occasional exception.

GERALD FINLEY (Wigmore Hall)*****

 

By Arran

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYD__TRnk_8&feature=emb_logo

Available until: I think recitals are available for one week which would be 3rd October 2020

I love the Wigmore Hall recitals but I don’t really know what to say so I don’t usually review them but I wanted to review this concert because I really like Gerald Finley. He is a very good singer and a very kind man.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

BEFORE, AFTER (Southwark Playhouse)***

 

By Imogen

Link: https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/before-after/

Available until: Final show September 26 at 7pm

I was a bit disappointed with Before, After – the musical itself and the way it was presented. I don’t want to give two stars because it’s always great to see two really talented singers giving a good performance. It was also advertised as a rehearsed reading so it wasn’t supposed to be a full performance.

DANCES AT A GATHERING (Royal Ballet)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://stream.roh.org.uk/packages/dancers-at-a-gathering-2020/videos/dances-at-a-gathering-2020

Available until: 25th October 2020

I don’t know if I’ll be any good at reviewing ballet. I enjoy ballet a lot, but if I’m seeing a ballet for the first time, it is sometimes difficult for me to pick out the story unless it’s already familiar to me. In order to understand Dances at a Gathering properly, I would have to watch it several times. I did think about doing that, but then (and maybe this is lazy of me) I was thinking this isn’t a well-known ballet and most people who watch it will be in the same position as me and won’t have seen it before. And I think everyone’s thoughts are valid really so mine should be too.

FAME (The Shows Must Go On/Peacock Theatre/Sadler’s Wells*****


By Imogen

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RYEEZ04lbDg

Available until: 7.30pm Sunday 27 September

I think Fame is really underrated as a musical. All most people know is that it’s about stage school and that it has a good title song but there’s so much more to it than that. Fame isn’t the only good song and the variation in musical styles is really impressive and not something you see in most musicals. This doesn’t just have the pop and rock styles you’d expect to find in a musical. There’s a bit of classical, a bit of Latin, a bit of street and lots of really good tunes.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

GHOSTS (Almeida Theatre/Trafalgar Studios/Digital Theatre)****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.digitaltheatre.com/consumer/production/ghosts Rent for £7.99 or sign up for monthly subscription

Available until: Unknown

I used to love this play. I loved Henrik Ibsen’s presentation of mental health problems. I thought Oswald had some sort of neurological problem that affected his mental health and eventually led to insanity. Then I grew up a bit and realised that the play was actually about venereal disease and that the neurological problems were a result of the physical problems, and the mental health problems were what anyone would feel in that situation. So I went off it a little bit, not so much because of the subject matter but because it wasn’t the play I thought it was. I loved the idea of the ‘worm-eaten’ mind. That is exactly how mental health can be. Negative thoughts burrow their way into your brain and eat it from the inside out… actually, I won’t continue this totally gross metaphor, but I’m sure you get the idea.

SEX, RELIGION AND POLITICS (Greenwich Theatre)**

 

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocYXEQ28pbc

Available until: Unknown

This play was written by Drew Paterson in response to Greenwich Theatre’s Short Play Submission Sunday initiative. The prompt was ‘Connections’.

I don’t want to judge this too harshly or discourage people from watching it because I think it is worth watching. It can be very difficult working to a prompt and I have no idea of the time frame in which the prompt had to be completed. But this didn’t feel quite like a play to me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

OVER THERE (Royal Court/Digital Theatre)**

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.digitaltheatre.com/consumer/production/over-there 16+

Available until: Unknown

The story of separated twins (particularly, but not exclusively, identical twins) has been explored in many ways by many writers. William Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors has two sets of separated twins and presents the situation as a farce. Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper examines class differences (though I don’t think it’s ever confirmed that the boys are twins, merely that they are identical boys with the same birthday) and while Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers is full of hilarious moments, it ends in tragedy (which isn’t a spoiler considering this is revealed in the first scene). C. S. Lewis’ The Horse and His Boy and Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene also have storylines based around separated twins. The storyline has been told in many different ways and I haven’t even got onto the subject of evil twins.

ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS (Bristol Old Vic)***

 

By Emma

Link: https://bristololdvic.org.uk/whats-on/romantics-anonymous

Available until: Performances livestreamed on 23, 24, 25 and 26 September

Romantic Anonymous is a sweet musical about two people with social anxiety who meet at a chocolate factory and fall in love. It is based on a French film from 2010 with the same title. The musical is also set in France and the characters have French names, but it’s almost all in English. (There is a lot of French at the beginning and that worried me because I didn’t know what was going on, but some of the other people who write on this blog speak French and they said I didn’t miss anything important. Megan says they spoke slowly and clearly and it was very good practice for her.)

ONEGIN (Red Torch Theatre/Stage Russia HD on Digital Theatre)**

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.digitaltheatre.com/consumer/production/onegin

Available until: Till Red Torch Theatre or whoever decides to withdraw access.

I hate it when I watch a play which I feel I ought to enjoy and I just don’t. It’s like I’m watching it and my brain is telling me it’s good, but my emotions aren’t listening. Not that my emotions have ever been very good listeners, but I wanted to enjoy this because I love the story. I’ve seen six different productions of the opera (if you include DVDs). I’ve sung Lensky’s aria and also Olga’s (I have a high extension) and totally murdered Tatyana’s Letter Scene (I don’t have that high an extension). I’ve seen the ballet and I’ve seen the Ralph Fiennes film. I’ve read two different translations of the Pushkin.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

THE DIARY OF ONE WHO DISAPPEARED (Scottish Opera/Lammemuir Festival at the Theatre Royal Glasgow)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhBVPT3DIFU

Available until: Unknown

The Diary of One Who Disappeared was filmed under social distancing guidelines and I think it’s a really good choice of repertoire. The cast is small, which makes it easier to social distance. It’s also only just over half an hour, which would be a much smaller risk than a piece of two hours or more.

CRYSTAL AND DUSTIN (A Light in Dark Places)****

 

By Louise

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

Available until: ‘Throughout September’

I think Zoom really suits this play well. As the main characters are sitting in their office, it makes sense for them to be sitting down nearly all the time. There is a lot under the surface in this play and because we can see the characters’ faces very well, they can show a lot in their faces which not everyone would be able to see in a big theatre. I’m really glad the director Fira Budiman didn’t make the characters stand up and get things all the time. I think the stillness is really important in this play.

JULIUS CAESAR (Shake-scene Theatre Company)****

 

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGkToN6iEhI

Available until: Unknown

Here’s another great production from Shake-scene, the online theatre company who barely rehearses and only gives actor a cue script, consisting of their own line and the cues they need to listen out for. On paper, it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Online, it’s another remarkable piece of theatre.

Monday, September 21, 2020

BETTER TOGETHER (Aca Theatre/Greenwich Theatre)****

 

By Ricky and Lottie

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uovGPbjpcEU&feature=emb_logo

Available until: Unknown but it’s been available since July

Warning: This video contains clowns.

THE TEMPEST (Sofa Shakespeare)*****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-7hagc5zdk

Available until: Unknown

This is my first ever Sofa Shakespeare production but it won’t be my last because this was really good! It’s a really clever idea. Anyone can sign up to be in it and I think they give you part of the text and you can perform it any way you like then it’s all edited together into one play.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

RICHARD II (Shakespeare Happy Hours)***

 

By Alan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wd_qTG5eLMk

Available until: indefinitely

I don’t really enjoy Richard II as much as the other history plays. Maybe it’s because it’s not very historically accurate – the War of the Roses wasn’t really all Richard II’s fault and I’m not sure who the Queen is supposed to be. His first wife Anne died 16 years before the time when the play starts and his second ‘wife’ Isabella was eight years old. So she can’t really be either of them but there isn’t anyone else she could be. Invented characters aren’t all bad because I like Falstaff but he really added something and he might not be completely invented as he is thought to be based on several real people.

BLUEPRINT MEDEA (Finborough Theatre)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgCzWFZ5wzE&t=7s

Link to subtitled version https://www.scenesaver.co.uk/production/blueprint-medea-subtitled/

Available until: 14th November 2020

Trigger warning: references to sexual violence. 18+

Blueprint Medea was the Finborough for Free release for July and now it’s back. It’s a good play, but the sound quality isn’t that great so if you might want to watch it with subtitles on Scenesaver. You’ll need to register, but it won’t cost you anything.

I didn’t know the legend of Medea when I first watched this play. Apparently, this is a story which everyone knows, but ‘everyone’ did not include me. Knowing the story would probably help. It is a difficult play to follow anyway, switching back and forth between the past and present, which some sections symbolised rather than acted out and others hinted at rather than fully explained. Having an idea of what is happening does help to make sense of some of these moments (it did make more sense to me the second time I watched it). But it is still quite a complicated play and even people who know the story have had trouble following it.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

THE BOSS OF IT ALL (New Perspectives TV/Soho Theatre)***

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://sohotheatre.com/shows/the-boss-of-it-all/ £12, age recommendation 14+

Available until: Shows on Sunday at 4pm and 8pm

I’ve never worked in an office. I doubt I’d last five minutes. I don’t really know what goes on in offices, but it sounds really stressful and confusing with all those forms and files and having to be horrible to everyone who phones up with perfectly reasonable questions and thinking up creative reasons why everything is the caller’s fault and not theirs. Though actually, I really like being creative and I’ve definitely said things in my career that aren’t true. Like when I claimed I’d been in a plane crash; when I pretended to be blind; when I sold my brother as a slave and told my dad he’d been killed by a homicidal goat… honestly, the things these playwrights make us say!

CARMEN (Royal Opera)**

 

By Imogen

Link: https://stream.roh.org.uk/packages/carmen-2018/videos/carmen-2018  £3

Available until: Friday 9th October 2020

This is the silliest production I’ve ever seen. If you buy this I think you should minimise the screen and just listen. I think Barrie Kosky the director and Katrin Lea Tag the designer are on something. I really do.

Friday, September 18, 2020

CULTURE IN QUARANTINE: FILMED IN LOCKDOWN (iPlayer)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/p088hhjd/culture-in-quarantine

Available until: 7-12 months

Culture in Quarantine: Filmed in Lockdown is a series of very short films. I’m not sure ‘Culture in Quarantine’ is the best possible name for it as ‘culture’ would put a lot of people right off but I’d say it is a fair title for the series as they are mostly based around the arts – there are short plays in various styles, dancing and music. There are also some autobiographical accounts of life in lockdown or the struggles people have in their day to day life.

ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (The Show Must Go Online)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBRqe-THfjA

Available until: Indefinitely

All’s Well That Ends Well is a problem play. There is one incident in the play which I don’t like at all and which I will talk about in more detail later, but this was a captivating performance by some brilliant performers.

Even in a Zoom production, there was a lot to see – much of it on the actors’ heads. There were some incredible hats in this production, all of them owned, created or adapted by the actors themselves. I wasn’t sure I’d ever see a finer array of hats than on Aashiq’s hatstand, but I think All’s Well That Ends Well has got him beat. (For now. I’m sure he’s scouring the internet as I type.)

ELEPHANT’S GRAVEYARD (The Production Exchange)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://tpetv.nutickets.com/events/stream/54969394?ticket=EPJBHDWSC4 tickets £10

Available until: Sunday 19th September 2020, 23.55

This isn’t a production which everyone is going to enjoy. There are references to cruelty to animals and although we don’t actually see anything onscreen, it is planned and described. The descriptions of what happens and the effects of it are very graphic. A lot of people would prefer not to watch it and I totally understand that. But it’s a really interesting and powerful story.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

ORPHEUS AND EURYDICE (Opera Comique/OperaVision)***

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CM_hYz1vFPU

Available until: 4th December 2020

Orpheus and Eurydice is a really beautiful love story and loads of composers have written operas about it. One of the first operas ever was Orfeo by Monteverdi. A composer called Philip Glass did an opera called Orphee this century. There have been others too including an operetta but they’re probably not as good as this one because it’s perfect. I couldn’t get into the Monteverdi one because the music was quite weird and I don’t really understand Philip Glass and I couldn’t imagine doing an operetta of such a sad story.

FAITH HEALER (Old Vic in Camera)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.oldvictheatre.com/availability/old-vic-in-camera/faith-healer Tickets £10-40 (I think there's a limited number at each price and you pay what you can afford)

Available until: Can only be watched live. Final performance is on Saturday 19th September, 7.30pm.

I’ll be honest. It took me a little while to get into Faith Healer. But that’s the way it is with some plays. They need a bit of investment. A bit of work on the part of the audience. It’s not like mindless telly where you can just let it wash over you. You need to stick with this one and you need to use your brain. It’s worth it. It really is.

DEAR IRELAND CONTINUES (Abbey Theatre Dublin)****

 

By Louise

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

Available until: Unknown but Part 1 is still available from four months ago

The original Dear Ireland land series was four evenings of monologues, filmed in lockdown, which might or might not have had a lockdown theme. The fifth part is linked, but different. This time, the writing is by audience members who have written letters to Ireland. The letters are read live onstage (yes, live onstage!) by some of Ireland’s leading actors.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

INTO THE WOODS (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre/Digital Theatre)****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://www.digitaltheatre.com/consumer/production/into-the-woods

Available until: Unknown

There is lots of theatre available for free on youtube but sometimes you just want to see a full-length musical and there just aren’t many available for free. Apart from bootlegs and obviously, I would never watch a bootleg. They are illegal and it shows a disgusting lack of respect for the cast and it causes theatres to lose money.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

BLUE WHALE (Greenwich Theatre)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSXXUSMaSDg&feature=youtu.be

Available until: Unknown

Four young people sign up for an online challenge. You know the kind. A new challenge every day, or a certain number a day. A way of getting through lockdown. A lot of us will have seen these; many will have participated. A lot of us will have given up halfway. Or even before starting. Others will push on to the end, even if we’re not that into the challenges anymore.

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS (Shakespeare Happy Hours)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zO1ovy_vvNY

Available until: indefinitely

Someone once told me The Comedy of Errors was a ‘romp’. It’s fair to say I misinterpreted what they meant slightly but I really can’t say this play was a disappointment the first time I saw it.

It wasn’t a disappointment this time either. It is a bit silly so you don’t want to take it too seriously but it’s also a lot of fun. So just sit back, enjoy it, don’t think too hard and you’ll have a great time. As always, Shakespeare Happy Hours know exactly how to pitch the play and the humour to ensure their audience has a great time.

BERNIE (A Light in Dark Places)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwm4iDTCJvs

Available until: Unknown

A Light in Dark Places produces a festival each year to raise awareness of and reduce stigma around suicide. This year, it wasn’t possible to produce the festival as they normally would, so the plays are being presented online.

Bernie was written by Fred Perry and directed on Zoom by Meagan Harris. Stephen Tobolowsky and Bruce Katzman play the roles of two brothers, Bernie and Sid. Sid is a doctor. Bernie is an artist who isn’t having any success at the moment. Bernie calls Sid after breaking his ankles and his brother rushes round to help.

21 CHUMP STREET (Brooklyn Academy of Music)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELBGa6-uOhc

Available until: Indefinitely

21 Chump Street is a 14-minute musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda, whose other musical projects include (as you probably know if you like modern musicals), Hamilton and In the Heights.

It’s based on a true story. Justin is a top student in his final year of college when he meets a beautiful, mature transfer student named Naomi, who seems to be interested in him. He’s so besotted, he’ll do anything for her. Even if it’s illegal.

Monday, September 14, 2020

TALKING HEADS (iPlayer)*****

 

By Tommy

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/p08ftkkx/alan-bennetts-talking-heads

Available until: June 2021

Talking Heads is a fascinating collection of monologues written by Alan Bennett. They first came into being as two television series, one in 1988 and one in 1998, each with six episodes. Six of these monologues additionally formed the basis of a play, also written by Alan Bennett, which was first performed in 2003.

TROILUS & CRESSIDA (Shake-scene Shakespeare Theatre Company)***

 

By Aashiq

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

Available until: Unknown. They say they did Richard III but I can’t find it anywhere. My husband says that just because I can’t find it anywhere, that doesn’t mean it’s not there (and I think it’s mean of him to bring that up and totally irrelevant), but I let him look too and he couldn’t find it either so while I am very disappointed I probably won’t get to see Shake-scene Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Richard III, I do at least get to feel smug for the rest of the evening and I’m always happy to do that.

This is a cue-scripted production and although I am an actor, I have never done this. It sounds absolutely terrifying and I take off my tiara to every single one of them (then I put it back on again before I lose it).

Sunday, September 13, 2020

DEATH OF A HUNTER (Finborough Theatre)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TsWYuikhwE

Available until: Unknown.

Until today, the only thing I knew about Ernest Hemingway was that he’d written The Old Man and the Sea, a novella I’d really struggled to make any sense of. I approached the play with some trepidation and quickly discovered that I was ignorant to the extent that it was affecting my understanding of the play. Hemingway was very vividly played by Edmund Dehn, the sole performer, but the text lurched from one subject to another. The first problem with this was that it left me feeling rather disorientated. The second problem was that the one impression which I did get from Dehn’s performance was that Hemingway was extremely confused and it was impossible for me to form any idea of how much of his ramblings was real and how much came from his paranoia.

LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS (Royal Albert Hall)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000mmxk/bbc-proms-2020-last-night-of-the-proms

Available until: 11th October 2020

I can’t ever remember not watching the Last Night of the Proms. It’s actually not my favourite prom as a lot of it is the same every year so it’s not quite as exciting as the more unexpected programmes, but it’s part of the experience and I wouldn’t ever want it to stop happening.

It very nearly didn’t happen this year. We all know why. And that made the Last Night extra special this year. The coronavirus has stopped so many things, but it didn’t stop the Last Night of the Proms.

STAGED (iPlayer)***

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/p08dnl67/staged

Available until: 10th June 2021

Staged is a 6 part TV series, which was created and filmed in lockdown by two of my fellow West End stars, David Tennant and Michael Sheen. So if you’ve ever wanted to know what Doctor Who and Brian Clough might have to say to each other, just click the link above. (I’m imagining a story where Clough actually does a good job with Leeds, but this sets in motion some sort of cosmic catastrophe and the only way of saving the universe is for Clough to mess up the Leeds job. I love a bit of football. It’s all drama, heartbreak and men in shorts. What more do I need in life? Besides my job.)

Saturday, September 12, 2020

WEST END UNPLUGGED EPISODE 1****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XS5kyr9kyA&t=5s

Available until: Unknown

West End Unplugged is a series of four online concerts featuring the stars of the West End. There are three or four each week and they sing songs from current and past West End shows. And future West End shows because we do have a future. I refuse to accept anything else so sort it out Boris.

LA BOHEME (Opera de Monte Carlo on OperaVision)****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p2NF4r7qFMM

Available until: 28th March 2021

This opera is just so relatable. It was composed 100 years ago and I think it was set even earlier but starts with four guys sharing a flat which still happens all the time. They go out clubbing, they go out with their girlfriends, they have a bit of banter but they obviously like each other a lot and have a good friendship which is really lovely.

Friday, September 11, 2020

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW (Shakespeare Happy Hours)***

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKmAomr2XP4

Available until: till someone decides to delete it

Why do I always seem to be reviewing plays I don’t like? Sometimes I wonder if I just don’t like plays, but I think I just like moaning.

The Taming of the Shrew is a difficult play. If you don’t enjoy it, you’re miserable because you haven’t had a good time. If you do enjoy it, you’re miserable because you can’t help thinking you shouldn’t have enjoyed it. That’s not in any way a problem for me because I get the most profound satisfaction from being miserable, but some people just don’t see the value of a good whine unless you take the h out.

PEACE AT LAST and WHATEVER NEXT (ChiffChaff Theare/ Greenwich Theatre)*****

 

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZF8quKG2ak

Available until: Unknown

Peace at Last

By Lottie aged 6

This is a story about three bears who feel tired and go to bed. Mr Bear can’t sleep because Mrs Bear took the blanket and she was snoring and sang songs in her sleep so Mr Bear went in Baby Bear’s room but he was playing aeroplanes and everywhere he tried to sleep there was noises.

JUNK (Greenwich Theatre)***

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScWrPzW5wQA

Available until: Unknown

Junk was written in response to a one-word prompt for Greenwich Theatre’s Short Play Submission Sunday initiative. The prompt was Memories. The play is a conversation between a husband and wife. The husband has just been to pub (newly-opened after lockdown) and has got talking to a guy he kind of knows about memories.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

ROSE (Hope Mill Theatre)*****

 

By Cal

Link: https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/rose Rose by Martin Sherman (Hope Mill Theatre) further performances on 11th and 12th September. Tickets available before 10am on the day of the performance and the performance is available for 24 hours from 10am.

Available until: 26th September. Bookings need to be made before 10am on the day of your chosen performance.

The first time I saw Maureen Lipman, she was in a musical with Hugh Jackman – and she was my favourite. If that doesn’t say something about her talent, I’m not sure what does.

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

 

By Megan

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

Available until: Indefinitely

I loved this so much! Othello was my first ever Shakespeare play and I love it and I was really looking forward to this. My granny gave me a children’s book which was the story of Othello and I thought it was so sad but so good. I really liked all the characters and I read it again and again and then my mum bought me the play. It has the play on the right-hand pages and on the left-hand pages it says what all the difficult words and phrases mean.

THIS BEAUTIFUL VIRTUAL VILLAGE (Abbey Theatre, Dublin)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.abbeytheatre.ie/this-beautiful-virtual-village/ Tickets £5

Available until: 17th September 2020

Six neighbours arrange a Zoom call to discuss a piece of graffiti in their local community. The graffiti says someone named Jessica is a slut.

There’s a feeling it should be quite simple. Do they pay for the graffiti to be painted over or not?

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

THE AMAZING VANCETTI SISTERS (Tristan Bates Theatre)****

 

By Arran

Link: https://vimeo.com/45890374

Available until: It’s been available since 2011

I really like plays with disabled characters in. It makes me feel better to know people like me are worth writing plays about. I especially like it when they’re written by Athena Stevens. Partly because she is disabled too but mostly because she is a really good playwright. I know I can’t write as well as she does but she makes me feel like I can do interesting things too.

ROMEO & JULIET (Shakespeare Happy Hours)****

 By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnZ7L3H2LaE

Available until: Indefinitely

I love this play. You can actually get personalised versions from Ustar Novels and my adoptive mum gave me Romeo & Romeo, a gay personalised version about my now-fiancé and me. Our names don’t scan brilliantly, but it’s special to me because I loved seeing our names together like that (the ending wasn’t ideal, but it was a choice of either that or Hamlet) and also, it got me into Shakespeare!

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

GIRLS LIKE THAT (Synergy Theatre/Unicorn Theatre)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx2KDNusk9E

HD Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7p1sF0Xtlyk

Available until: Unknown

Girls Like That is a very good play about what school can be like if you’re a girl. The title means ‘girls who behave in a particular way’. The phrase is mentioned a lot during the play. It’s not complimentary.

The play is about a group of girls who met at primary school and then went to secondary school together. It’s mostly about what happened at secondary school, but there are scenes set in primary school too and one set in the future.

THESE FOLK (Boulevard Theatre)***

 

By Jack

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyxi6Szbr-o&feature=emb_logo

Available until: no idea

I’d like to go to an improvised show. As soon as they ask for audience participation I’ll think of something impossible for them. Like if they asked me what mundane thing I’d done today I’d tell them I did a poo. Even if I didn’t. It’s not like they can check, is it? Then I’d sit back and wait to see if they go with the motion. I personally think most people do a great impression of a poo. With some people all you have to do is mention poo and they flush. And that was joke number two. Just dropping it in there. Yes I am talking ****.

Monday, September 7, 2020

FIDELIO (Royal Opera)****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000l9rq/beethovens-fidelio-the-royal-opera

Available until: July 2021

Beethoven only wrote one opera but he worked really hard on it. There are three slightly different versions of the opera and four different overtures. Some of the music was written for a different opera which Beethoven didn’t finish. The overtures are played quite often in concerts by orchestras and sometimes Leonore Overture 3 is played in the second act but nearly all the performances are of the last version of the opera. There is a really good recording of the first opera which is conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner but I have never heard the second one.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

ACT TWO - AN EVENING AT JOE’S (Joe Allen TV)*****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTL8QqaxR0Q

Link to Act 1 (a separate concert, but I’m posting the link as you know what some people are like, if you give them Act 2, they always want Act 1 too. Some people are so greedy): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEtPaI_0iRw&t=1s

Available until: They decide to take it down. How am I meant to know?

Joe Allen (the restaurant in Covent Garden not the star Wales footballer, I’m extremely fond of both, but you get bigger eyelashes in the restaurant) claims to be the stagiest place in London. I completely agree, at least if you discount whichever place I happen to be in. It is a fun and fabulous venue which has been very much missed during lockdown and it was wonderful to see the Act 1 concert a couple of months ago. The restaurant is full of theatre memorabilia and theatre people and I could basically just live there, if my husband would like to buy it, I will happily move in whenever he likes. (And he says I never let him decide anything.)

MISSING PEOPLE (Leeds Playhouse/Kani Public Arts Centre)****

 

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USAMQlXkILc&feature=emb_logo

Available until: 21st September 2020

Missing People is a very interesting play by Brad Birch with parts translated into Japanese by Keiko Tsumeda. I think the title refers to a few different things. The characters miss the people who aren’t there. They have also missed the people they haven’t seen for a long time. But I think maybe it’s also about the fact that sometimes, we don’t always see people as they are and that could be a sort of missing people too because we’re missing what is really going on in their lives.

Saturday, September 5, 2020

THE ROYAL OPERA LIVE IN CONCERT****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://stream.roh.org.uk/packages/the-royal-opera-live-in-concert-1/videos/the-royal-opera-live-in-concert

Available until: 30 days’ time, I think it costs about £10 to watch but it’s worth it.

It is so amazing seeing the auditorium of the Royal Opera House again! I could really feel the tingly excitement as soon as the ROH orchestra started to play. The orchestra were in the front of the Stalls (they got rid of the seats) and the Chorus were up in the Circles and the singers were onstage. The orchestra was socially distant which means they got to have their own music stand. I hope it will be like that for my school orchestra, it always annoys me to sit next to inferior flautists and the trouble with being the best is that everyone is inferior. But it will be annoying having to turn the pages myself. The Chorus sounded great and my mum thinks she recognised Louise Armit who she really rates, she saw her at Glyndebourne in solo roles. She has really nice hair.

Friday, September 4, 2020

THE LIE (Made in Manchester)****

 

By Tommy

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000m4dc

Available until: 28th September 2020

The Lie is a radio play rather than a staged drama, but I believe it may be of interest to theatre fans. The considerable success of The Mousetrap, which ran for almost seventy years until the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of all theatres, and also of the much more recent production of Witness for the Prosecution, which had been playing at London’s County Hall for almost three years, suggest there are many fans of Agatha Christie amongst the theatregoing public –but some will be unfamiliar with this play.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE (The Show Must Go Online)***

By Anon

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diB4ycHdIi8

Available until: Indefinitely

TRIGGER WARNING: Rape

Thursday, September 3, 2020

PERICLES (Shakespeare Happy Hours)*****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aGXGo3aR08

Available until: Forever, I hope

Pericles is a really difficult play and I’m not sure if I understand it properly yet but I really love it! There are bad things and bad people but then there’s a happy ending and it’s really lovely.

I thought it was quite like a fairy tale. I wasn’t going to write that in case it sounded silly but then one of the actors said that after the show so I don’t feel silly now. Joel Colodner plays Gower who is like a narrator and he tells bits of the story and the way he tells it feels like I’m having a bedtime story and even though bad things happened, every time I saw Gower I felt like everything would be all right in the end.

THE TURN OF THE SCREW (Opera North)****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odvj84x1NS0

Available until: Unknown

I’ve loved Henry James’ novella since I was a kid (not that that was very long ago) and I will never ever forgive my English teacher for spoiling it all, trying to make everything about sexual repression. Anyone would think these teachers were the teenagers, they’re obsessed! Some people just need to get out less. (My teachers also said Othello isn’t a very good play. Says it all really.)

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA (Shakespeare Happy Hours)***

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfaCDK9Py0I&t=10s

Available until: Indefinitely

This is a really difficult and challenging play – for the actors and production team and for the audience. A lot of the things in the play make it seem like a comedy (two men falling in love with the same girl, girls dressing up as boys, characters getting hold of other characters’ rings) and it is usually included as one of Shakespeare’s comedies. This is probably because, in Shakespeare’s time, a comedy meant a play that had a happy ending, even if it wasn’t funny.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

GHOST LIGHT (National Theatre of Scotland/Edinburgh International Festival)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXajvQfXsu4&t=1s

Available until: Unknown

Ghost Light is described as a love letter from the National Theatre of Scotland, offering tantalising glimpses of their past work, along with hints of what we have to look forward to in the future.

At first, I wasn’t sure where ‘love letter’ came into it. It isn’t set up as a love letter. It’s a series of scenes. But then it seemed to click for me. Although not a traditional letter, this piece is undeniably full of love. Love for the theatre itself, love for the plays that have been and will be produced there, love for the audiences that have shared so many moments with them.

DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NURNBERG (Glyndebourne)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noJI-A9BHKc

Available until: Sunday 6 September, 5pm

They’ve done it to me again! I always get landed with the performance the kids don’t want to review. Still, I can understand if they’re daunted by Wagner. Wagner is… a commitment. Der fliegende Hollander isn’t so bad as it’s fairly short but even with Das Rheingold, you know there are three parts more to go and you’re not even a quarter of the way through because they get longer and longer! I did once listen to the entire Ring Cycle in a day (when I was in my 20s, I never could resist a dare) and I actually ended up liking it more as it went on but would I ever do that again? No. One at a time? Definitely.

OUR TOWN (Voice Theatre)****

 

By Louise

Link for Act 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEnMLY7-0LA&t=4s

Link for Acts 2&3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ykKB6E6H-B8

Available until: Indefinitely

One problem with producing plays on Zoom is that it’s there’s no stage. Some theatre companies like The Show Must Go Online and Shakespeare’s Happy Hours have got around this problem really well, but there are probably some plays where having a shared space really matters.

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...