Saturday, October 31, 2020

MIDNIGHT TANGO****

 

 By Imogen

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

Available until: It doesn’t say but probably Sunday 30th November at about 7pm?

If anyone watches Strictly and they’re quite old they might remember when Vincent Simone and Flavia Cacace were professionals between 2006 and 2012. This is their show.

I think The Shows Must Go On chose to stream it because it’s called Midnight Tango and that sounds quite Halloweeny, but it’s actually not very Halloweeny at all. But I think that’s a good thing. Some people go a bit crazy over Halloween. The only thing I care about is having a better costume than anyone else and even that’s not much fun when we can’t go to parties. I kissed six vampires last year and two werewolves. But I refused to kiss the zombies.

SHOWSTOPPER! THE IMPROVISED MUSICAL (4)****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/showstopper-the-improvised-musical-livestream-tickets-121758513993?aff=SSwebsite

Available until: Unconfirmed but it’s usually available for 48 hours so that would be Sunday 1st November at 7.30.

Can we just take a moment to salute these talented people? Maybe not literally, saluting your computer probably does look weird and we wouldn’t want it to get used to it. My laptop and I have a very comfortable relationship where it stops working and deletes things and I call it names and I don’t really see any need to change that. But the Showstoppers are very different from computers. If you ask the Showstoppers to do something, they actually do it. No matter how impossible it seems. You wouldn’t catch a computer behaving like that. At the very least, it’ll want to spend some time thinking about it.

THE THEATRE CHANNEL EPISODE 2 (Theatre Café)*****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/episodes/the-theatre-channel-episode-2/

Available until: April 2021

The Theatre Café Channel is a great idea and it’s so much fun. There’s one every month and it’s lots of big West End stars singing really good musical theatre songs. There are a few I hadn’t heard before but I’d definitely like to hear them again.

Friday, October 30, 2020

THE WINTER’S TALE (The Show Must Go Online)*****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9V4YwZArao

Available until: Forever

Trigger warning: The bear is a very messy eater

The Winter’s Tale is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. A lot of people don’t like it and that’s okay but I really love it. I think the characters are really interesting people and I like them all.

A NIGHT CAP WITH… JORDAN LUKE GAGE (Theatre Cafe)*****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/livestreams/paul-taylor-mills-presents-night-cap-with-jordan-luke-gage-at-the-theatre-cafe/ £8

Available until: 6th November 2020. Once you’ve rented it you can watch it every day if you want.

Jordan Luke Gage is one of the biggest stars in the West End. He was starring as Romeo in & Juliet when everything went wrong and before that he was Strat in Bat Out of Hell. During lockdown he has sung Claude in Hair but my parents wouldn’t let me go and see that because they’re mean. I bet they won’t let me see it at the London Palladium either.

AT THE STATUE OF VENUS (Royal Opera)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWs4LDHmnOc

Available until: 24th November 2020

For Meet the Young Artists Week, the Royal Opera have produced three short works for solo female voice. None were written as operas – this is a song, though it is nearly half an hour long. They have all, though, been staged as operas and they work very well.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

ROMEO & JULIET (Shake-Scene Shakespeare)****

 

By Alan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvWcU6Cc6Bk

Available until: Unknown

I think this is the first play Shake-Scene ever did online. They did some work with cue scripts before this but this is their first play. I can’t say it’s their first full play because they didn’t do the whole of Romeo & Juliet but they did the story from beginning to end.

ARIANNA A NAXOS (Royal Opera)*****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPOpj8UfNkE

Available until: 24th November 2020

Possible trigger warning: fake blood

As an opera fan, you get to hear and see new and exciting singers all the time and it’s one of the best things about being an opera fan but every so often, you discover a singer who is not just truly exceptional but unlike any other singer you’ve seen before. It’s especially exciting when the singer is young and almost certain to get a lot better. Stephanie Wake-Edwards impressed me in her recent Wigmore Hall recital with Allan Clayton and in the Royal Opera’s Juke Box 1. This performance only seems to confirm her star status and incredible potential.

DAWN’S EARLY LIGHT (Lupo Blu Productions)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bqYZvX8Y0rI

Available until: Unknown

Trigger warnings: Mental health problems, suicide attempts

With some plays, it doesn’t matter if you know nothing about the background. You can pick it up as you watch. But with Dawn’s Early Light, I felt at a bit of a disadvantage. I’m a British person who wasn’t around in in 1988 (I wasn’t born till 2000) and I can’t help wondering if I’d have appreciated the play more if I’d researched in advance. At the same time, I do feel a great play should be enjoyable without research. I don’t really know much about how people lived in Shakespeare’s time either, but I enjoy nearly all of his plays.

Wednesday, October 28, 2020

SOON (Greenwich Theatre)****

 

By Tommy

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7rVv-LjlkM

Available until: Unknown

This is an absolutely charming play about a young lady who is trying to persuade her baby that now really would be a good time to go to sleep. I remember those late nights well and I had double the fun, with twins! They both seemed to have the ability to sleep through their twin’s crying, but the moment of their falling back asleep again, although completely silent to my insensitive ears, was somehow exceptionally noisy to the other twin and so often resulted in their distressed awakening.

LA DAME DE MONTE-CARLO (Royal Opera)****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-RFhLrnH6I

Available until: 24th November 2020

This is actually a sung monologue for soprano and orchestra but here it is performed with a pianist and staged. It is often performed alongside La voix humaine (which Welsh National Opera has filmed as part of lockdown) and was written for the same soprano.

JUKE BOX 1 (Royal Opera)****

 

By Tommy (and some of the younger bloggers)

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04nppOsfdig

Available until: The video will be available for about a month. However, if you wish to vote, you’ll need to do that before midday on Thursday 29th October.

The Royal Opera has had a Young Artist programme for most of the current century. A small group of talented young singers spend two years working at the Royal Opera House, singing small roles (and occasionally leading roles) and understudying others. They also have a concert at the end of each year and certainly, in the past, they have been given the opportunities to perform recitals at the opera house too.

Monday, October 26, 2020

RACHEL (Compacts)*****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d08c-eKC35A

Available until: Unknown

Warning: themes of abuse and violence

I don’t think I really know how to say how good this is. It’s really powerful. It’s only eleven minutes long but it has the emotional effect of a much longer play. It’s by Rick Allden and he never wastes a word, every single word he’s written is all part of the story he’s telling. Everything is relevant to the story but in a way that lets you get to know the character.

LA VOIX HUMAINE (Welsh National Opera)****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://wno.org.uk/whats-on/1l0a2v1o0i4x2s1treaming

Available until: 25th April 2020

Warning: Bad language (though probably nothing you haven’t heard - and said  - before)

I’ve seen and heard quite a lot of operas, but I didn’t know La voix humaine. It’s only forty-five minutes long so you really need to find another opera to pair it with and no opera has really emerged as the Pag to its Cav.

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS (The Cream-Faced Loons/Scram Collective)*****

 

By Megan

Link to Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=re1s4oVhLl4&t=10s

Link to Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPmYpUkmvf0

Available until: Unknown

I loved this production of The Comedy of Errors! It is a really funny, clever play but it is also a very confusing play so sometimes I need to work very hard to keep track of who everyone is and what is going on.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

NEW DARK AGE (Royal Opera)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://stream.roh.org.uk/packages/new-dark-age/videos/new-dark-age-part-2 (it says Part 2 but the whole performance is here) £10 including tax

Available until: Monday 23rd November 2020

New Dark Ages is made up of several works, divided into two halves. The first hour of the performance is the chamber opera The Knife of Dawn, composed by Hannah Kendall to a libretto by Tessa McWatt, with poems by Martin Carter. Martin Carter is played by singer Martin Braithwaite, who carries the whole opera almost on his own.

CACTUS (Tramp)****

 

By Cal

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

Available until: Unknown

Trigger warning: Descriptions of physical violence (no visuals)

Philip Ridley started posting monologues at the start of lockdown. Some sources give the series the title of The Beast Will Rise, but this isn’t mentioned in the video description. Thirteen were posted in the first few months of lockdown, I believe all by different actors, and the last two were uploaded three days ago. This is the fourteenth.

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

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZR1Ghcyt6DU&t=2044s

Available until: forever

I’ll be honest – of all the Shakespeare plays, I was probably looking forward to this one least. I just don’t find it a very interesting play. It’s also a very complicated play so it does require a certain level of hard work in order to follow what’s going on. I’ve seen Tom Hiddleston in the title role and if he can’t hold my attention, who could?

Saturday, October 24, 2020

THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (The Shows Must Go On)****

 By Jack

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6hXc2lzfsk

Available until: Sunday 25th October 2020.

I don’t usually like musicals. They’re too soppy and people keep singing for no reason and when they’re in danger, instead of running away like a normal person, they stand still and sing a song about running away. I know some idiots panic in a crisis and do all kinds of stupid things but standing still and singing a song? Not realistic. If you want to run away, just run away. It’s a bit pathetic but at least it makes sense.

SHOWSTOPPER! THE IMPROVISED MUSICAL** (but kind of ****)

 

By Alan

Link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/showstopper-the-improvised-musical-livestream-tickets-121758513993?aff=SSwebsite

Available until: 25th October 2020

I’m really glad I watched this because before tonight I really didn’t believe these musicals were improvised. The performers were just too good. I didn’t believe it was possible to improvise songs in any style and make up lyrics which rhymed and scanned and sing harmonies. I thought it was all a trick.

Friday, October 23, 2020

A NIGHT CAP WITH... AIMIE ATKINSON (Theatre Café)*****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/livestreams/paul-taylor-mills-presents-night-cap-with-aimie-atkinson-at-the-theatre-cafe/ £8

Available until: 29th October. Whenever you buy it you’ll have access until the 29th

I adore Aimie Atkinson. If I was straight… but then I’m not. But I do love her so here’s a review for Queen Aimie of Six, or the Pretty Woman of the Piccadilly as she now is (or will be when we all finally get back from this annoying little hiatus). Here’s a five star review from one queen to another.

FIRST DATE: THE MUSICAL (Brasserie Zedel)***

 

By Imogen

Link: https://www.brasseriezedel.com/events/first-date-the-musical/ £12.50

Available until: There are two more livestreams at 7.30 on Friday 23rd and Saturday 24th October.

I did actually enjoy this and there were some things about it that I really liked a lot but there were too many things that annoyed me for me to give it 4 stars. I could give 4 stars to be kind but I think it’s very important to give my honest opinion.

VENUS & ADONIS (Stanzas in Solidarity)****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WAbL_U_AYg

Availlable until: Unknown

This is a really lovely performance of a Shakespeare work which probably gets performed even less than Edward III! It’s not a play, it’s a very long narrative poem but it (obviously) has really beautiful language and good characters. In this production, each actor reads one stanza.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

NIGHTCLUB ME (Coronavirus Theatre Club)****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yd0kcbV-x4I

Available until: Unknown

Trigger: Abortion (I probably shouldn’t say that really but I don’t want anyone to watch this without knowing and be upset by it)

I relate to this story a lot. Not the trigger part. Just the feeling that I’m not that interesting really and that I only become interesting after I’ve had quite a few drinks. I don’t do it now because I have to be more responsible but sometimes I wish I could. A lot of people have said to me that I probably wasn’t as interesting as I thought I was and I probably made a right idiot of myself (and some of the time, I probably did) but it really didn’t seem that way at the time.

ALLAN CLAYTON, STEPHANIE WAKE-EDWARDS & JAMES BAILLIEU (Wigmore Hall)*****

 

By Arran

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjsRo3Az1M0

Available until: It doesn’t say but I think the concerts are available for a month so maybe 21st November 2020.

This is a really good concert which I enjoyed a lot. I was stressed before the concert but it made me feel better.

Allan Clayton sang most of the concert but Stephanie Wake-Edwards who is a Jette Parker Young Artist at the Royal Opera House sang three songs. James Baillieu accompanied them both. It is quite an unusual recital because there aren’t many groups of the songs by the same composer but Mr Clayton’s songs did have a connection because they either had a connection to Benjamin Britten, John Donne or both of them. It’s really interesting hearing songs that are grouped together for different reasons and seeing the connections between them.

HENRY VIII (Globe Theatre)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://globeplayer.tv/videos/henry-viii £11.99 to buy or send as a gift, £5.99 to rent

Available until: It’s only available through the site for a limited time. If you buy it, you need to download it. Then it’s yours forever. If you buy it and don’t download it, you’ll lose access.

Henry VIII isn’t one of the most popular Shakespeare plays. It wasn’t entirely written by Shakespeare, which puts a lot of people off. Shakespeare also doesn’t give us the full story - it ends with Henry being happy with one of his wives and we all know exactly how long that lasts. Henry also doesn’t have the fun of attempting to get rid of other people or the agony of other people attempting to get rid of him.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

THE SPECIAL RELATIONSHIP (Soho Theatre on Demand/Synergy Theatre)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://sohotheatreondemand.com/show/TheSpecialRelationship £4

Available until: I’m not sure how long it’s available on the site, but the rental period is 48 hours.

A plane is about to leave. A man appears in a police uniform. He’s escorting a woman onto a plane, but she has an arm injury so perhaps that makes sense. The policeman dances. The policeman pulls out a gun.

COVID FAN TUTTE (Finnish National Opera and Ballet/OperaVision)***

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwNz8C33JOc

Available until: 16th February 2021

I like a good pun and this isn’t a bad one. You’ve got to admire the speed with which they’ve put it together (I know the opera houses were probably all closed, but that didn’t mean nobody had anything to do). There is some great singing, obviously some great music and there is a lot about this production which is really enjoyable.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (The Lord Chamberlain’s Men)*****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txHaPB6S6AU

Available until: Don’t ask me. No-one tells me anything.

Watching a Lord Chamberlain’s Men production like stepping back in time, without having to suffer all the inconveniences that would go with it like a complete lack of internet access and anti-ageing facials and the small matter of my marriage being illegal. The Lord Chamberlain’s Men’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is an absolutely gorgeous production and I’m not just saying that because all the actors are men.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

KEENE (Red Bull Theater/American Shakespeare Center)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSYNsNsg0X4&feature=youtu.be

Available until: Friday 24th October, 12am

This play sounds quite heavy. It’s all about academics at a conference and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t give me a few reservations. But it’s actually a sweet, funny and very relevant play about human beings. It helped that I’m a fan of Shakespeare and opera and that I managed to learn a fair amount about One Direction in the days when Imogen refused to speak about anything else but I don’t think this knowledge is necessary in order to appreciate the play. I think you’ll probably pick up what you need to know as you go along.

IL TROVATORE (National Centre for the Performing Arts, Beijing/OperaVision)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aka3KCx847A

Available until: 21st October 2020

There isn’t much time to watch this, but it is a really enjoyable performance of an opera which is very well-known but which I think I’ve only seen once.

It is a really lovely production and because it’s filmed, we have the opportunity to see the set up close and it’s beautiful. Hugh De Ana is the director, set designer and costume designer for the production and that’s not a surprise as the set and costumes go so well together. The set is full of beautiful greys and dark blues and that is echoed in the singers’ clothes. The beautiful colours show the romance and love in the story, but the set is full of angles and shadows which show how difficult it is for the three central characters in particular.

Monday, October 19, 2020

ANTONY & CLEOPATRA (The Show Must Go Online)****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_jjQY9Ce3k

Available until: Forever

Antony & Cleopatra isn’t one of my favourite Shakespeare plays but The Show Must Go Online made it so brilliant! The acting is really good and it was hard to believe everyone was filming in their homes. It felt like they were filming on location. It all felt really exotic and mysterious and it was like it was a different world.

MADE AT HOME (Tamasha)****

 

 

By Cal

Link: http://www.tamasha.org.uk/made-at-home---a-tamasha-virtual-scratch/

Available until: 16th November 2020

Tamasha is a theatre company which works with emerging and established artists from culturally diverse backgrounds. Usually, like most companies, they perform their work on a stage. This year, like so many, they have moved online. Tanasha actually had a bit of an advantage over some of the other companies as they’d experimented with digital theatre last year so they had some experience to draw on, but I doubt that made it easy. Yet they’ve produced an hour and a half of varied, interesting and extremely good pieces of work on the theme of home.

Sunday, October 18, 2020

4/4 (Royal Opera)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://stream.roh.org.uk/packages/4-4-1/videos/4-4?_ga=2.3104821.488861402.1602970904-1496587806.1598986963

Available until: Sunday 15th November 2020

A week after the Royal Ballet returned to the stage with a number of extracts, it was the turn of the Royal Opera.

None of the four works performed are strictly operas. Two were cantatas (though very different in style), one was a song with orchestra and the other is rather difficult to classify, but I would say it’s more like a song cycle than anything else. The cantatas and the song cycle have characters but are not usually staged. The song is usually sung in concert with an orchestra and is not characterised at all.

SHOWSTOPPER: THE IMPROVISED MUSICAL (2)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/showstopper-the-improvised-musical-livestream-tickets-121758513993?aff=SSwebsite  (there are only a few hours left to watch this one, but there are two more you can book)

Available until: Sunday 18th October 7.30pm

I really enjoyed this. I knew the performers would be really impressive because I’ve seen last week’s show and I also know what a good reputation the Showstoppers have, but I wasn’t expecting them to produce such a good musical. It must be really difficult making up any kind of musical on the spot, especially when the audience (who were online) keep throwing new ideas at them.

Friday, October 16, 2020

ONE DAY WILL BE THE BEST DAY EVER (Compacts)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7E5Dyaopog

Available until: Unknown

I really like Rick Allden’s Compacts plays. It’s hard to believe they’re so short because there is so much in each play. The ones I’ve watched have all had a lot of sadness in them, but they’re happy plays too because they have so much love in them and that makes me feel there is hope for the characters.

OPPENHEIMER (Royal Shakespeare Company)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3sICvgLopE

Available until: 16th October 7pm

Oppenheimer was performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2015. With just two exceptions (though I think one was involved in the play at a later stage and the other is the little boy – the four original actors in the role probably aren’t so little now!), the cast was reunited for a Zoom reading of the play on 15th October 2020.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

NO ONE. IS YOUR FRIEND (Southwark Playhouse/Future Voices)

 

By Aashiq

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

Available until: Unknown

In case you’re wondering, the full stop in the title is supposed to be there. It’s used consistently and I think it’s an emphasis thing. I don’t think it’s possible to use italics and underlining on youtube. I’ve never seen it, anyway. And we all know what CAPITAL LETTERS mean.

THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR (Shake-scene Shakespeare & OPSFest)****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zB9aMgphdr0

Available until: Unknown

The Merry Wives of Windsor is basically a fanfic request. Shakespeare had just written Henry IV Part 1 which included a character called Sir John Falstaff. No-one is sure how real he is, there was a Sir John Falstaff from around that time and some people think the character of Falstaff was based on him. Other people think he’s a mixture of three different real people and some people think he’s a total invention.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

BURN (Old Vic)****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Qs2WIHVSiU

Available until: Unknown

This play was actually produced and filmed in 2019, in response to the changing attitudes to mental health and addiction. I didn’t know that when I first watched it. The emotions and situations the character, played by Weruche Opia, seem to describe the current situation so well. The need to stay in motion, as many people have done with their exercising and baking. (I didn’t get into all that. Me and ovens aren’t the best combination. I’m not too bad at the actual cooking part, but not so good at remembering to switch the thing off.) The feeling of being overwhelmed. Of not quite knowing what was going on. I honestly thought it was written in lockdown till I read the video description.

THE COLOR PURPLE DIGITAL CONCERT (Leicester Curve)*****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTjfb7fTLP4

Available until: Monday 19th October 11am

This isn’t the full musical, but it’s a great introduction to it. It introduces you to the story, some of the music and some of the characters. I haven’t seen anything like this before but it’s a really great idea. In 32 minutes, the Leicester Curve shows you enough of The Color Purple to whet your appetite. But not so much that it won’t be worth paying money to go to see it, whether that’s in a theatre in the future, in a cinema when the film of the musical comes out or perhaps online if they decide to share a full production of it. I would certainly pay for it.

TWELFTH NIGHT (Sofa Shakespeare)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkh5RS_7eaI

Available until: Unknown, but this video has been up for five months and the oldest videos have been up for six months. Aashiq says you should take from that ‘What You Will’.

There are probably only so many ways you can say how wonderful these Sofa Shakespeare productions are – but at the same time, you can’t say it too many times. It’s definitely not a case of ‘seen one, seen them all’.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

AMERICAN MOOR (Red Bull Theater)*****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.redbulltheater.com/american-moor-benefit

Available until: 7pm EDT on 16th August which I think is midnight between the 16th and 17th August in the UK.

I love Othello. It’s one of my favourite plays. The title role is one of my favourite characters. A character I’d love to play. But after watching this play… I don’t know anymore. I don’t know if I still love it. And if I do, is that wrong?

WEST END UNPLUGGED EPISODE 4*****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnQT_I97Mrs

Available until: Unknown

The final concert in the West End Unplugged series is probably the best. I felt like it had more variation. Four very different singers singing contrasting music. It also seemed to have a better structure. Each singer sang two songs, one more or less after the other. There wasn’t lots of messing around with going back and forth and it also seemed safer.

Monday, October 12, 2020

THE AGGRAVATIONS OF IZZY (A Light in Dark Places)****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dASYMwplWC8

Available until: I don’t know and they don’t have to tell us.

Aren’t late people just the most annoying people in the world? Don’t they just make you want to scream and stamp your foot and do all kinds of other things you really should have grown out of by now?

Okay, I’ll be honest. I have no idea if late people are annoying or not. Nobody ever arrives after I do so how could I possibly know? But I’ve been told I’m really annoying when I’m late and it seems only fair to take their word for it.

THE BIRD (Compacts)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2j2PsiTpOmo

Available until: Unknown

Some plays take a while to get into and that’s okay because it’s worth a bit of time and effort. But when it comes to a short play, you really need to grab your audience from the start because the play will be over before you know it. You can’t take thirteen minutes to get into a play when it’s only thirteen minutes long.

ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL (Globe Theatre)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://globeplayer.tv/videos/all-s-well-that-ends-well £5.99 to rent, £11.99 to buy or send as a gift

Available until: Forever, or until the Globe take it off their site. But even if you buy it or receive it as a gift, you can only access it through the site for a limited time. So you need to download it. Once it’s downloaded I think it’s yours forever.

All’s Well That Ends Well is one of the great problem plays. And the usual problems people have with this play are either a complete lack of understanding of why an intelligent woman like Helena would want an idiot like Bertram – and whether the trick Helena and Diana play on Bertram is entirely right.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

THE TEMPEST (The Lord Chamberlain’s Men)****


By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBWsaO7wgnQ

Link with accessibility options: https://www.scenesaver.co.uk/production/the-tempest-lcm/

I think this is my fifth lockdown performance of The Tempest, but I’m not bored with it yet. With all Shakespeare’s plays, I feel every production is different and shows me something new.

There were two ways this production stood out as being different. Firstly, it was an all-male production. Many people won’t like the idea of women being excluded from productions and I would definitely want this to be the exception rather than the rule, but I do think it’s interesting to see the roles played by men, especially as that’s how it would have been in Shakespeare’s time.  The world hadn’t learned then that women are equal to men (and that there are more than two genders anyway) and that is sad, but all-male productions are part of our history and I was very interested to see this one.

FUNNY PECULIAR (Little Cog)****

 

By Sophie

Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYwmTl7RSrM

Link with BSL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9k7of6EkY8

Link with audio description: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kg1j53PuDSY

Available until: Unknown

Warnings: The film includes strong language, sexual references, examples of disability discrimination, eating disorder, isolation, references to mental health and self harm. Age recommendation 18+

This is a film about four disabled women, played by four disabled female actors. Being female and disabled myself, I thought I would connect with the play, but I actually felt rather alienated by it. I’m sure that was more due to my ridiculously high expectations than anything else as the writing and acting were excellent and there was absolutely nothing in the play that was wrong – but while there were some parts of the play which I identified with very strongly, there were other things which were a long way outside my experience.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

THE ROYAL BALLET: BACK ON STAGE*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://stream.roh.org.uk/packages/the-royal-ballet-back-on-stage-1/videos/the-royal-ballet-back-on-stage £3

Available until: Sunday 8th November. The performance starts half an hour into the video.

We’ve watched a lot of videos of the Royal Ballet recently, but this was different. This wasn’t a recording. It was live onstage with real dancers touching each other. There was even an audience of students, nurses and their families. It wasn’t a full house because of social distancing (and because the orchestra were spaced out around the whole of the Stalls), but they sounded like a big audience.

SHOWSTOPPER! THE IMPROVISED MUSICAL****

 

By Imogen

Link: You can’t have the youtube link because it’s an unlisted stream for people who have PAID. You can book tickets here for the archived performance I’m talking about or for live performances in the future. https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/showstopper-the-improvised-musical-livestream-tickets-121758513993?aff=SSwebsite £9.50 or £6.50 for a single musical, £25 for the 3 remaining musicals.

Available until: the end of 11th October 2020. And there will be a new one on Friday for the next three weeks.

Showstoppers is usually performed to a live audience but because the Government are such twits (I would rather spell twit with an a but I’m not allowed) the actors have to go on youtube and take suggestions from the live chat. The host chose his favourite suggestions and told them to the four actors, who chose their favourite from the host’s selection.

I’m not going to tell you what the audience came up with because that would be totally against the spirit of Showstoppers. You should be surprised when it happens just like the people who watched it live. (Or the people who had to watch it later on youtube because it was Family Quiz Night. Megan won. She usually does. When I was ten I knew a lot about the important things like musicals and hot boys but Megan knows all kinds of boring stuff like towns in Bedfordshire. Why would she need to know that? Bedfordshire must be at least fifty miles away and the only place worth visiting is the Milton Keynes Theatre. Unless that’s in Buckinghamshire. But who cares? I don’t need to know things like that. That’s what chauffeurs are for.)

But I will tell you a few things about tonight’s improvised musical.

It was set somewhere that would be difficult to put onstage but not impossible.

They sang songs in the style of three musicals. One has been in the West End since forever. One arrived quite recently. One had been there for a while but it would have closed by now even if the coronavirus hadn’t ruined our lives. The improvised songs are really good because the music and lyrics are a lot like the musical which they’re inspired by.

They also had to do a big number in a style you don’t usually find in musicals and they did a good job with that too.

I don’t think any of the songs were true showstoppers. This is more a musical for admiring the insane talent of the performers than admiring the story and the music. But the songs are still very good. Just don’t expect a new Defying Gravity. Or not in this musical. If you want a new Defying Gravity you can always book a future performance and suggest a song in the style of Defying Gravity.

The audience had to suggest titles for the musicals in the interval, the host chose his favourites and the performers made the final choice. I think they made a very good choice. I would have chosen exactly the same thing.

The four actors play lots of different roles. Jonathan Ainscough, Ruth Bratt, Susan Harrison (who also appeared in These Folk, another improvised show, which Jack reviewed) and Adam Megiddo and they are very versatile. They all have great voices especially Susan. She has really nice hair too. They can sing in every style they were asked to sing in. They’re all very good at acting and they are very good at accents especially Ruth. The men are very good too and they’re quite hot so I was happy.

Some people are very suspicious of anything that’s improvised. Especially when it’s this good. It is possible they planned it all in advance and they had friends in the youtube chat. But I don’t think they did. Even if they did I don’t think that really matters very much. When you buy a ticket for a musical you pay money to see talented performers doing their job and that’s what happens in Showstoppers. You can’t prove it is completely improvised and that the ideas thrown at them are completely new but you can prove that the performers are very talented people because a lot of actors wouldn’t have the vocal and dramatic range to sing in all these styles even if they spent a year rehearsing. It’s totally natural to wonder but you’re not going to work out the truth from watching the show so just enjoy the show. That’s what audiences are supposed to do.

Friday, October 9, 2020

HOMING PIGEONS (Future Voices/Southwark Playhouse)

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YNEteIsF8o

Available until: Unknown

I might as well give up now. Seriously, Mia Adeboye is a teenager and they're a much better writer than me (most Mias are girls but they can be boys too so I'll go with 'they'). I am so glad I had the opportunity to watch this.

It has everything. On the surface, it’s a story about pigeons. The ones who live in London already. The new pigeons who move in (there’s a brilliant joke about that which I won’t give away, even though I’m absolutely dying to and I just woke my husband up to tell him. I don’t think he understood and he actually looked a bit cross, but it is a good joke. I just think maybe you need to be properly awake? I’ll tell him again tomorrow). But the pigeons are just what’s on the surface. This play has a deeper meaning and it’s so clever.

INCIDENTAL MOMENTS OF THE DAY (The Apple Family)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AoV7FwbqLrI

Available until: 6 November 2020

Not everyone is going to appreciate every play. We’re all different people with different lives, all experiencing different versions of the same situation. I had a bit of trouble getting into Incidental Moments of the Day. It all felt a bit outside my personal experience. Some things felt a bit alien. Some things went over my head. And obviously that’s my fault for being a shallow, ignorant twentysomething.

But I did feel I was watching characters who were good people and when it did resonate with me, it resonated strongly.

APOLLO 13: THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (Original Theatre)*****

 

APOLLO 13: THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON (Original Theatre)*****

By Angel

Link: https://originaltheatreonline.com/productions/4/apollo-13-the-dark-side-of-the-moon

Available until: 31st December 2020. Pay once and watch as many times as you like.

Age guidance: 11+

The first moon landing was Apollo 11. That went well so they tried again with Apollo 12. That also went well so they did Apollo 13. That turned out to be the kind of mission that makes superstitious people think they’ve got a point.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED IN ISOLATION (Royal Exchange Theatre)***

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXfietam9lc

Link to audio-described version:

Available until: Unknown but the Royal Exchange don’t usually keep their videos up for long

This play was created by the Royal Exchange Elders’ Company, through improvisation. It’s a 40-minute ‘documentary’ about how a group of mature actors and theatre fans are coping in lockdown. The actors take on the roles of actors and theatre fans, each with their own story to tell.

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

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAAI_c65nZY

Available until: Indefinitely

Trigger warnings: Blood, death, violence, murder, self-harm, child loss, violence against children and infants. I also noticed intimate noises, animal cannibalism and simulated vomiting.

Megan was supposed to be reviewing this, but we looked at the trigger warnings and we decided she wouldn’t be comfortable with it. I’m reviewing it instead because as it’s a female and non-binary production, it seemed right to have a female or non-binary reviewer. I am also half-Scottish and I support the Scotland football team and I’m happy there’s a very famous play set in Scotland.

GOOD GIRL (Soho Theatre on Demand/Old Red Lion Theatre)****

 


By Aashiq

Link: https://sohotheatreondemand.com/show/GoodGirl £4

Link with captions: https://sohotheatreondemand.com/show/goodgirlcaptionedsubtitled £4

Warning: Bad language, sex and female biological references, lots of adult concepts. I would say 18+

Available until: I don’t know when it’ll be taken off the site, but I do know you get 48 hours to watch it after you pay for it. So there you go. Some useful information.

Can I say I just love the way Soho on Demand theatre IDs me when I pay for some of their productions? They didn’t do it this time (though I think they should have done, considering the content. Maybe they just recognised me. That’s a lovely thought), but I did appreciate it the other times. I know they do that to everybody, but it really is the loveliest way to start the day.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

BREAD AND ROSES (Greenwich Theatre)****

 

By Cal

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

Available until: Unknown

I love Zoom plays. I really do and I’ve seen a lot of really great ones, including from Greenwich Theatre, which are so good, that the fact the actors are on different screens and could be thousands of miles apart doesn’t matter. There are also a lot of new plays which have been written for Zoom performances.

But to see a play like this, where the actors are not only in the same location but able to touch, that’s not something you get to see very much in current plays. In this play, we do get to see it and it’s really great. I’m lucky enough not to be starved of hugs, but physical affection in online plays is something that usually can’t happen. So it means that little bit more when it is allowed to happen.

WEST END UNPLUGGED EPISODE 3****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2S4bpL2fPrw&t=9s

Available until: Unknown

I think this is such a lovely way of celebrating the West End and showing certain people everything we’re missing. Anthony van Laast (the presenter) doesn’t just talk about the performers, he talks about everyone backstage and the way that so many people are struggling because their jobs are being taken away. They could go out and get another job and some of them have but it’s not that simple because lots of people have been let go from their jobs and they aren’t being replaced so where are they supposed to get a job?

AS YOU LIKE IT (Globe Theatre)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://globeplayer.tv/videos/as-you-like-it £5.99 to rent, £11.99 to own or send as a gift. It is very complicated sending it as a gift but the Globe people are very helpful

Available until: I think you can keep it for a limited time if you rent it and it’s yours forever if you buy it.

I think the Globe is a really beautiful theatre. Every time I see a production, I’m surprised by how beautiful it is. This production has lots of shots of the entire stage (Kriss Russman directed the filming, though he didn’t direct the actual production) so you get the full effect of what a special theatre it is and how much work must have gone into it. It is sad to think the Globe (and almost every other theatre) has no audience at the moment.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

KNOCK KNOCK (Touted Folly/Theatre for Thought)*****


By Aashiq

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

Available until: Unknown

Warnings: 15+, bad language, mental health, physical violence, murder

Knock Knock is all about Billy, who has dissociative identity disorder. Several people live inside his mind. They take over his body, doing what they want to do. It’s difficult for Billy to know what they did. He thinks they might have done something bad, but that doesn’t mean he knows what it is. The alters (the standard word for the other personalities) use his body. They don’t use his mind. Why would they use his mind when they already have one of their own? Come on. It’s not difficult. There is a certain logic to mental health problems, but some people just can’t see other people’s logic, only their own. And yet, they expect us to see theirs, when we’re the ones who are vulnerable and unwell. Where’s the logic in that, then? Well?

ADDING MACHINE (Finborough Theatre)**

 


By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIFH_mlEJ0o

Link with subtitles: https://www.scenesaver.co.uk/production/adding-machine-a-musical-subtitled/

Available until:

Trigger warnings: Racism, Capital punishment, suicide

The Finborough Theatre has put on some brilliant productions over the years and one thing I love about them is that they’re not afraid to take risks.

But one downside of taking risks is that every so often, a risk won’t pay off – and this production didn’t pay off for me. If you look on google, there are numerous publications proclaiming it as a four-star musical and they’re more likely to be right than me. But I’m not going to pretend I liked and understood it when I didn’t.

GROOMED (Soho Theatre on Demand)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://sohotheatreondemand.com/show/Groomed

Link with subtitles: https://sohotheatreondemand.com/show/groomedcaptionedsubtitled £4

Available until: I have no idea but you get 48 hours access

Warning: 18+, descriptions of child sexual abuse and violence

Groomed first appeared as an award-winning play in 2017. Two years later, it was filmed on location in a children’s classroom. It is the film, directed by Nancy Meckler, which Soho Theatre have uploaded to Soho on Demand.

Monday, October 5, 2020

HAPPY MERRY (A Light in Dark Places)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKspi1hvYfw

Available until: Unknown

I think this is a very brave play. The other plays in this series have focused on giving support to people with mental health problems, but in this play, we see a couple of characters with a less than ideal attitude to mental illness. It’s a difficult and painful watch, but I think it’s really important to acknowledge that these attitudes exist and that not everyone is perfect and to look at ways of dealing with people who are less than sympathetic.

THE WINTER’S TALE (Sofa Shakespeare)*****

 

By Tommy

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zaTqbxPvVg

Available until: Unknow

Sofa Shakespeare is an online theatre company which produces fascinating and innovative productions involving anyone who wishes to be involved. Cast members are assigned a short section of the text and are then able to present it in whatever manner they wish. They can speak the lines as they would in a conventional production; they can use props and costumes; they can allow their pets and toys to ‘speak’ the lines – it seems there are no limitations, except, one would imagine, a few rules about common decency.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

LIFEBOAT (Coronavirus Theatre Club)***

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUB_1011BUU

Available until: How am I meant to know?

Lifeboat by Laura Riseborough is the first ever play posted by the Coronavirus Theatre Club. We did the first one out of order because there was a link on youtube to that specific play. But then I thought we’d better go back to the beginning or I’m never going to remember what we’ve watched and what we haven’t.

LETTERS – TIM CROUCH & NADIA ALBINA and ALEX AUSTIN & NIGEL BARRETT (Gate Theatre)***


By Louise

Link to book recordings: https://www.gatetheatre.co.uk/letters/?dm_i=444W,X2F6,6D0RS4,43HU5,1  from £1

Link to book live shows on Zoom: https://www.gatetheatre.co.uk/whats-on/letters/

Available until: The last Zoom shows are on 6th and 7th October, but the recordings of the shows are available till 31st October, though not all are available yet.

Warning: The Tim Crouch & Nadia Albina video contains swearing.

Letters is a very special and original idea. A while ago, the Gate Theatre did a very successful play called Dear Elizabeth, which was all about the letters exchanged between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, who were both American poets. They wrote over four hundred letters to one another over the course of several decades. The roles were played by different pairs of actors at each performance and sometimes there were male Elizabeths or female Roberts.

CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA***/PAGLIACCI**** (Royal Opera)

                                                                 By Imogen

Link: https://stream.roh.org.uk/packages/cavalleria-rusticana-pagliacci-2015/videos/cavalleria-rusticana-pagliacci-2015 £3

Available until: 9 October 2020

Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci are short operas of about 70 and 75 minutes long and they’re famous for being performed together. Pagliacci was written when the composer Ruggiero Leoncavallo saw Pietro Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana and thought he could do that too. And he did. Better than Mascagni. But Cav & Pag (as some lazy people call them even though there’s no G sound in Pagliacci if you say it right, it’s Pal-yee-AR-chi) were linked from that moment and they go together like me and Jordan Henderson. Or me and Shawn Mendes. Or me and Giovanni Pernice.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

AFTER YOU (Tonight at the Coliseum/Stream Theatre)****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/home/shows/204 £18 + booking fee

Available until: One more performance at 7.30pm tonight

I have seen a few different new musicals since lockdown. I’ve enjoyed all of them but none of them made me feel like I’d just seen a great new musical. But I really love After You. I do think there are things that could be developed more but I do think this is the best of the new musicals. It was really emotional to watch and I got so into it as soon as the music started!

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS (The Wet Mariners at the Willow Globe)*****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmda4XfjOHU

Available until: Unknown

I hadn’t heard of The Wet Mariners until a few months ago but they did a production of A Midsummer Night’s ‘Stream’ on Zoom and that was so good and so funny, I was really excited when I heard about The Comedy of Errors. Especially when I found out it was staged with an audience. I love Zoom productions, but staged productions really rare and special at the moment, even when I’m watching online.

THE THEATRE CHANNEL EPISODE 1 (Theatre Café)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/episodes/theatre-channel-episode-1/ £12

Available until: 9th October 2020

The Theatre Café have made such a big contributions to lockdown performances. They organised over seventy Leave a Light On concerts, each featuring a West End musical theatre star. After that came another series of concerts and workshops called The Interval Act, and they’ve recently started a new series called A Nightcap with… which is a combination of a concert and an interview. There have also been Zoom quizzes, which always sold out.

Friday, October 2, 2020

FOR US (Future Voices/Southwark Playhouse)

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaV2TOAyeog&feature=emb_logo

Available until: Unknown

These students are so talented! I could almost have a fit of jealousy and refuse not to review anymore, but I’m trying to be more mature and I don’t think that would really qualify.

For Us is written by Funke Telefusi. It’s the story of a sixteen year old girl called Elizabeth. Elizabeth lives with her mother, who is dealing with her very difficult past (which I’m not going to tell you about – you’ll have to watch it and see!). Elizabeth feels unhappy and uncomfortable and unable to cope. So she reaches out for help.

TIMON OF ATHENS (The Show Must Go Online)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1A2gDSD9XA

Available until: Indefinitely

When you’re learning Shakespeare at school (or at home as I was), there’s a lot of talk about fatal flaws. Macbeth’s is ambition (as we’ll all see next week), Othello’s was jealousy (as we saw absolutely phenomenally a couple of weeks ago). These fatal flaws are seen as negative. Jealousy doesn’t make anyone happy and although there’s a place for a certain amount of ambition, it’s fair to say Macbeth… takes it a bit far.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

A PERMANENT SCAR (Coronavirus Theatre Club)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qQ-RS0j_bh0&t=18s

Available until: Unknown.

A Permanent Scar by Rachel Flynn draws you in instantly. An unnamed man, played by Sean Cernow, is talking about a girl he’d liked for a long time. This really is the story of ‘the one who got away’ because he’s speaking in the past tense. I was wondering straight away if she’s just not part of his life anymore or if her departure from his life is as permanent as the scar mentioned in the title (a quote from the song Drops of Jupiter by Train).

HENRY VIII (Shakespeare Happy Hours)****

 

By Alan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNeM7RF90bk

Available until: Indefinitely

Henry VIII isn’t performed very often. A lot of big Shakespeare fans have never seen or read it and they’re surprised when they do. Henry VIII is known for having six wives but in this play he only has two wives. Katharine (of Aragon) who he is married to at the start and Anne Bullen (names in Shakespeare’s time had lots of different spellings) who he marries after he has divorced Katharine.

There are a lot of things about the play that aren’t accurate. Anne is written as a gentle, kind character. The real Anne was very well spoken but she did cause a lot of trouble by saying things she shouldn’t have said.

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...