Monday, November 30, 2020

BABY FEVER (Covid & Cigarettes/Aurora Theatre)****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1z5tLKQO9k&list=PLwhWmWJPoEmF8P780nCvmV74Zv_kK-FGQ&index=1

Available until: January 7th

I think there are two ways of interpreting the title of this story. ‘Baby fever’ could be a desperation to have babies or the fact you almost feel like you’ve got a fever because you’re so stressed by your children!

AN EVENING AT JOE’S: ACT THREE (Joe Allen TV London/Acting for Others/Joe Allen Restaurant)*****

 

By Arran

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XefWZ0R6Mgk

Link to Act 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEtPaI_0iRw&t=5s (Acts 1 and 2 are separate concerts but I thought I’d post the links in case you were wondering why I’d only reviewed Act 3)

Link 2 Act 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTL8QqaxR0Q

Available until: Unknown

I hadn’t heard of Joe Allen the restaurant before lockdown but I thought it had a nice name. One of my favourite footballers is called Joe Allen. So I watched the concerts and it seems like a really lovely place. Imogen says she’s going to go there all the time when she’s a West End star.

AS YOU LIKE IT (International Actors Ensemble/Alex Theatre)****

 

By Cal

Link to 29th November performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHGXRWCb5JQ

Available until: Unknown, but there are three recordings of this event. This is the 29th November performance. There were also performances on 28th and 30th November.

It’s always interesting watching plays on Zoom and seeing into actors’ homes, but in this play, I really enjoyed the use of backgrounds to give a sense of place. The International Actors Ensemble has taken advantage of this option and although all the actors have slightly different screens, it does look like they’re all in the same place. It worked really well, especially as much of the play took place in a really lovely bluebell wood. Wish I was there! I’ll happily swap November for summer.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

SHH! WE HAVE A PLAN (English Touring Opera)****

 

By Lottie and Ricky

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

Available until: Unknown

 

Lottie aged 6

DON GIOVANNI (Royal Opera)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://stream.roh.org.uk/packages/don-giovanni-2019/videos/don-giovanni

Available until: 27th December 2020

The Royal Opera have been really wonderful for keeping us entertained during the pandemic. They stream their past productions online for a very small price, as well as putting on socially-distanced shows for a very small or no audience, which can be watched online.

This production of Don Giovanni is probably my favourite ROH streamed production so far, but I did enjoy all the other productions a lot. It is a beautiful opera musically anyway and it has lots of interesting characters, but in Kasper Holton’s production – revived by Jack Furness - they are especially interesting because he has shown the characters in ways I have never seen them before. The ending is really interesting too.

RENT (Hope Mill Theatre/Umbrella Rooms)****

By Cal

Link: https://hopemilltheatre.co.uk/events/rent-online £20

Available until: Shows Friday and Saturday at 7.30pm and Sundays at 7pm. The final performance is Sunday 20th December. The video is available from 7.15-11pm so you don’t need to watch it live, but you do need to watch it on the same night.

Content warning: Drug-use, strong language & themes of adult content. Parental guidance required for children under 15.

169 years ago, a man called Henri Murger wrote a series of stories called Scènes de la vie de bohème. This inspired not one but two composers to write an opera called La bohème. Ruggero Leoncavallo’s 1897 opera is actually really good, but it is Puccini’s 1896 opera that was embraced by the public – and which inspired composer, lyricist and writer Jonathan Morgan to create a musical based on La bohème but set in Lower Manhattan in New York. Sadly he did not live to enjoy the success of the musical, he died the night before the Off-Broadway premiere in 1996. But the show has proved popular. There have been a number of UK productions including three in the West End and one in a paper mill, as well as an eight-year run on Broadway.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

DEATH OF ENGLAND: DELROY (National Theatre)*****

                                                          By Cal

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

Available until: Saturday 28th November 7pm. You’ll need to start watching it before 5.30pm.

Content warning: 12+. The play contains flashing lights, adult themes and strong language, some of which is racially offensive.

Post-Show Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jhIFndYCMG4

It’s difficult to put into words how good this is. It’s an incredible play. A really important play. A play which I really wish was available for more than 24 hours.

Death of England: Delroy was filmed at the National Theatre on its opening night. It was also filmed on its closing night. Lockdown only allowed the theatre one opportunity to share it with the world – until now (though I really hope there will be more performances in the future).

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (The Shows Must Go On)*****

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkYg80kjIAI

Available until: It says it’s available for 48 hours so that’s probably until 7pm on Sunday 29th November.

An American in Paris is a really beautiful musical. There are lots of stories about several men falling in love with the same girl and all thinking she will marry him, but these srories are usually either a farce (which means it’s a lot of fun, but maybe not very romantic) or the lady behaves in a very unfair and not very ladylike way and it’s really sad and it’s hard to feel happy for the successful man because you can’t help wondering how long he’ll be successful for.

FIVER (Southwark Playhouse)****

 By Imogen

Link: https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/fiver-the-concert/#schedule £15

Available until: There are livestreams on Saturday 28th November at 3.15pm and 7.45pm. It seems to be available for a while after the show too so you don’t have to watch it completely live and you can pause it.

Fiver is a great show because the star is a member of the audience! At the start of the show, Alex James Ellison invites an audience member onstage and grinds against them till they give him a £5 note. I wonder how successful that is. I mean he is so hot, some people might hold out on him all night and only admit right at the end that they don’t even have a fiver. I mean not many people do. It’s all plastic nowadays. Cash isn’t even legal right now in some places.

Friday, November 27, 2020

THE FOSSE FOREST BALLET: PILOT***

 By Dave

Link: https://thefosseforestballet.com

Available until: Pay what you can and you get 24 hours access. They’re halfway to their initial goal so it’ll probably be available for a little while longer.

The bad news is I wasn’t totally convinced by this but I have good news too. I hated Fleabag, didn’t get The Office, in fact I haven’t seen any sitcoms I’ve enjoyed that have been made this millennium (unless Staged counts). Yet these shows are really popular. So the fact I’m not totally convinced is quite likely to mean the Fosse Forest Ballet team has a hit on their hands.

THE LAST FIVE YEARS (Southwark Playhouse/Stream Theatre)*****

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/home £18 +£3 booking fee

Available until: Further livestreams on Friday 27th November at 7.30pm, Saturday 28th November at 2.30pm and 7.30pm, and Sunday 29th November at 5pm.

The Last Five Years is a great musical for lockdown. So great, it’s been done twice. A filmed version with Lauren Samuels and Danny Becker, both filming their own section of the music. (And they were wonderful. I absolutely adore Lauren and Danny. They could probably sing one of Donald Trump’s speeches and I’d still love them. Well, probably. If I put them on mute, anyway.) And now a filmed version of Southwark Playhouse’s staged production, starring Molly Lynch and Oli Higginson.

OUT OF THE DARKNESS INTO THE SPOTLIGHT: A SPOTLIGHT ON MUSICAL THEATRE (Apollo Theatre/Theatre Café)****


By Louise

Link: https://www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/livestreams/out-of-the-spotlight-into-the-darkness-episode-2/

Available until: It says N/A

The second episode in this really enjoyable series features fourteen singers. They each sing a solo song and two of them sing a duet together as well. They sing songs from fifteen different musicals, ranging from Guys and Dolls which was first produced in 1950, to A Star is Born, a film musical which was released in 2018. Every decade apart from the 1980s is represented but I think the music from the 1980s often isn’t appreciated nowadays.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

WAITING (Thornhill Theatre Space/Theatre Off-Kilter)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2A42wEBwQw

Available until: Unknown

This is a series of several plays, all related to the pandemic. It’s a very interesting selection because they’re very short and not very much happens in most of them, but every one of these plays made me think about an aspect of the pandemic. They say we’re all in the same situation, but in many ways, we’re not. We’re all at home, but we have different homes. Different lives. And every single one of these characters has an important story to tell.

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (Performance Preparation Academy)***

 

By Imogen

Link: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/whats-on/surrey/performance-preparation-academy/saturday-night-fever/e-gjqdde  £22 adult, £17 concession, PPA graduate £12, PPA student £5. + booking fee

Available until: This production must be watched live. There are livestreams Thursday-Saturday at 7pm and a Saturday matinee at 2.30pm

In some ways this musical seems so old-fashioned. The idea that if you get pregnant you have to marry the guy or have an abortion. There’s nothing about adoption or being a single mum or giving it to your parents to look after. There were only 2 options, abortion or marriage. I do think it’s good it’s basically the girl’s decision, if she won’t get an abortion then the marriage has to happen. But I’m glad we’ve moved on from that.

LEAR (Cream Faced Loons Theatre Company)*****

 

By Louise

Link to playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLp9ljWlQivIN3lhFgJNXBZ9zZyzPnxcon

Available until: Unknown

This is a really lovely and clever adaption of King Lear, set in the COVID era. There are sixteen episodes, all a couple of minutes long and it looks like they were posted on sixteen consecutive days.

The series was written by Abey Bradbury and it’s so good. She takes all the important events in King Lear and fits them really convincingly into the modern COVID world. It really surprised me how well it worked. King Lear is about the dividing up of lands and it has a very historical feel (King Lear is thought of as Shakespeare’s fictional King, but he’s based on a legendary King called King Leir), but I suppose the lands aren’t really the important part of the play – it’s about the relationships between parents and children. That is something which has gone on for centuries and will probably continue to go on forever.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

UNSAID (Distanced Scenes)*****

 

By Emma

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

Available until: Unknown

I think this is a really good play. It’s only ten minutes long but it’s enough to get a really good sense of who the characters are and how they feel. It’s part of a longer story which has been going on for a very long time but you don’t need to hear the rest of the story. You can feel what it is like.

PACE (Greengate Productions)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://vimeo.com/482609041

Available until: Unknown

I first read about this film a while ago and wondered if there would be an opportunity to see it so I was very happy when it was posted on Vimeo.

It tells the story of Jason, who has arrived at a police station following arrest. At first, we don’t know what’s happened. The story moves between the present and the past. Jason and his partner Emma are holding a gender reveal party and they want to share the moment with the people who matter to them most. Unfortunately, this means the guest list includes two people who really don’t get on. These two men have caused trouble in the past and Emma is concerned there might be further problems between them at the party.

TITUS ANDRONICUS (Shakespeare Happy Hours)***

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTGPmIG1CEA

Available until: Unknown

Content warning: Murder, rape, violence, mutilation, blood, gore, cannibalism… not for the squeamish

This isn’t one of Shakespeare’s easy plays. It’s not usually seen as one of the problem plays, probably because it’s very obvious that the characters are awful and we’re not expected to sympathise with them. It’s more one where you sit back and enjoy the horror – and if you like horror, there’s plenty to enjoy. Cal commented in another review that Shakespeare was very cheeky with his humour (and he wasn’t referring to the cheeks on your face) and Shakespeare was also not averse to writing dark, nasty stories of murder and mutilation. He could basically do anything and he writes this one with relish!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

CAREFUL WHAT YOU SHOW (Compacts)****

  

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qt7-7RvQgSs

Available until: Unknown

Everyone says it’s wrong to judge people, that you should keep your minds open, that you shouldn’t assume. But that’s easier said than done.

With a play you’ve got a natural interest in what happens next and that’s fine as long as the story is good enough to hold most of your attention.

FROZEN (Disney Cruise Lines)***

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BgL3vp8bEK0

Available until: Unknown

I don’t want to be mean but Frozen leaves me a bit cold. I don’t really enjoy the story and I don’t especially like either of the princesses. This is a problem when it comes to enjoying the story but I think Disney Cruise Lines has adapted the musical really well for a cruise audience and there are lots of good things about their production.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE (Shake-Scene Theatre Company)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKDUG_wq8-A

Available until: Unknown

This is a really difficult play. There is so much in it that’s wrong. So many characters who behave badly – and most of them get away with it. I don’t know why this play is so particularly difficult when the world is full of stories about people behaving very badly – and it’s not all fiction - but Measure for Measure usually makes me feel very uncomfortable.

Monday, November 23, 2020

CHWARAE OPERA CALAN GAEAF/PLAY OPERA HALLOWEEN SPECIAL (Welsh National Opera)*****

 

By Lottie & Ricky

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yyP8EV3eeA

Available until: Unknown

Lottie age 6

FALLING STARS (Union Theatre/Stream Theatre)****

  

By Alan

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/shows £18

Available until: Further livestreams on Monday 23rd-Saturday 29th November, with 2.30pm matinees on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th.

I don’t always like juke box musicals as I think they can be a bit lazy but I don’t really see this as a juke box musical. There’s no plot, it’s more the story of music from around the 1920s which was obviously 100 years ago. Peter Polycarpou does most of the presenting and the explanation of what music was being written but he is helped in this by Sally Ann Triplett who does some of the narration and sings quite a lot of the songs.

OTHELLO (Sofa Shakespeare)*****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ri--_c4YTEw

Available until: Unknown

Sofa Shakespeare is a fun idea, but their productions are always well put together and of a very high standard. This production of Othello features only actors from the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Colour) community.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

14 VOICES FROM THE BLOODIED FIELDS (Abbey Theatre Dublin)

 

By Cal

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

Available until: the end of Sunday 22nd November

14 Voices from the Bloodied Fields has been created to commemorate the centenary of a tragedy which has come to be known as Bloody Sunday. I have not given a star rating and this is not so much a review as a description as it feels wrong to give a rating of this sort of performance. But I wanted to write something to acknowledge the piece and maybe draw other people’s attention to it and possibly even encourage them to watch something they might not have watched otherwise.

ARIODANTE (Royal Opera)*****

 

By Tommy

Link: https://stream.roh.org.uk/products/ariodante-in-concert £10

Available until:  Sunday 20th December 2020

How wonderful to see a full live opera at the Royal Opera House once more! Of course, it was not possible to see this opera in person and might not have been as fully satisfying experience for them as it was for their online audience, but I really hope they were able to find some enjoyment in their excellent performances of this beautiful opera and to know that it was very much appreciated by those of us who are missing opera.

LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST (Shakespeare Happy Hours)****

 

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3e38CvjFsY

Available until: Unknown

Everyone talks about the sexism of the past (as well as of the present) and they are so right to do that because a lot of things are very wrong. But Shakespeare has written some really great female roles that show women as being intelligent and enterprising and 100% capable of taking care of themselves and the men too.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

THE TEMPEST (The Show Must Go Online)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVtdtBbUwK4 

Available until: Forever

I almost didn’t want to watch this because I knew that when I did, it would all be over. But I also really wanted to watch it because I knew it would be brilliant and it was.

Mostly, TSMGO have presented Shakespeare’s First Folio plays in order (as far as we can be sure of the correct order). I think the only changes they made were posting the three parts of Henry VI in chronological order (Part I was actually written last) and now swapping the order of Henry VIII and The Tempest and ending with a more popular work. I think both these decisions are really good. Henry VI makes more sense in order and although there is something to celebrate at the end of Henry VIII, it’s not a very well-known play and although it has a beautiful ending, it ends quite quietly. The Tempest definitely ends with more of a bang.

THE POLTERGEIST (Tramp/Southwark Playhouse/Stream Theatre)*****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/17

Available until: further livestreams Saturday 21st November at 3pm (captioned) and 7.30pm.

Philip Ridley has released lots of brilliant monologues in the The Beast Will Rise series on the Tramp youtube channel, but this is my favourite of all. It’s a great story with great characters and I think there is a lot in the story that most people can relate to, even if not everyone goes to quite the same extremes.

Friday, November 20, 2020

SWING (Coronavirus Theatre Club)****

 


By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kibhkp1zynQ

Available until: Unknown

Content warning: This isn’t exactly about a swing in a theatre who understudies every role. In case you were wondering. Strong language, sexual content, probably 18+

MARRY ME A LITTLE (Barn Theatre)****

 

 

By Emma

Link: https://barntheatre.org.uk/all-venues £13.50

Available until: Further livestreams on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 7.30pm. The stream is available for 24 hours.

Stephen Sondheim wrote a lot of songs for his musicals but not all of them made the final cut. Marry Me a Little is a collection of cut songs from several of his musicals including Company, A Little Night Music and Follies, plus a couple of songs which I think did make the final cut for their musicals but they were reused here, probably to make the story clearer.

GIANT STEPS (Theatr Clwyd)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpxXLpIpLYs&t=3s (This was a Secret Stream, but it's publicly listed on Theatr Clwyd's youtube channel so I'm guessing it's okay to post the link. I can take it down if not.)

Available until: Unknown

In our lives, we might not spend a lot of time with people who are very different from us. If two people have very different lives, they often never meet, at least not for long enough to form any kind of connection. But sometimes, people who are very different do meet and they find they have more in common than they ever expected. The three characters in Giant Steps are very different, but two of the characters’ paths keep on crossing – and it is through one of the things they do have in common that they meet the third character in this play.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

OUT OF THE DARKNESS INTO THE SPOTLIGHT: A SPOTLIGHT ON ‘JAMIE’ (Apollo Theatre/Theatre Café)****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/livestreams/out-of-the-spotlight-into-the-darkness-episode-1 £9 for single episode or £25 for the complete 3 episode series

Available until: The Theatre Café website says N/A.

The Theatre Café have been one of the most active venues through this annoying lockdown business. They started off by streaming concerts from performers’ homes and more recently they’ve actually been letting the performers into the café. The Apollo Theatre is one of the theatres that have really tried to get up and running again. The Government messed all that up but even though the Apollo can’t let audiences in they can’t stop the performers. Some of this show is filmed at the Apollo and some is at the Theatre Café.

HEDDA (Bristol Old Vic)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://bristololdvic.org.uk/whats-on/hedda from £10

Available until: Further livestreams on Thursday at 2.30pm and Thursday and Friday at 7.30pm

Content warnings: Loud noises and themes of suicide. Recommended 15+

Hedda is a modern retelling of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler which is performed by members of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Lucy Kirkwood’s script has the same basic idea of Hedda being trapped in an unwanted marriage and wanting to do something to stop herself from going crazy with boredom.

PHOENIX (English Touring Theatre/Signal Fires)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://ett.org.uk/watch-and-listen/phoenix

Available until: Unknown

Content warning: Strong language, references to coronavirus

Transcript: https://ett.org.uk/cms/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Mike-Bartlett-Phoenix-TRANSCRIPT.pdf 

Phoenix is a short story by Mike Bartlett, which is read aloud by Bertie Cavell.

English Touring Theatre hoped to run a project called Signal Fires, where audience members sat around fires for evenings of storytelling. That couldn’t happen, but they have tried to reproduce the project online with the short story, Phoenix.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

MS GOLDIE VS THE WORLD (Original Theatre)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://originaltheatreonline.com/productions/9/mrs-goldie-vs-the-world

Available until: 27th November 2020, 1am

Ms Goldie vs the World is presumably autographical. It’s written and performed by Nicky Goldie and it’s all about her relationship with her ninety-four year old mother. It’s presented as a monologue, with Nicky sharing her thoughts, frustrations and memories with the audience.

MACBETH (Chichester Festival Theatre/The Shows Must Go On)****

 

By Alan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dalKG4ZiYg

Available until: 23rd November

Content warnings: Blood, guts, gore, violence, gunfire

Macbeth is fiction but it is based on real people. There was a Macbeth who became King of Scotland circa 1005. Unlike in the play, he was king for over 17 years. Macbeth’s grandfather was king so Macbeth was part of the Royal Family and King Duncan was his cousin- so Macbeth was technically next in line after Duncan’s sons. (The rules of succession weren’t always followed, part of the plot of King John is based on the fact John was actually 3rd in line after his deceased brother Geoffrey’s two surviving children but the previous king, his brother Richard I, wanted John to be king after him so that’s what happened. Macbeth was at least 4th in line and probably wasn’t Duncan’s first choice but he had a lot of support from others.)

IN THE ABSENCE OF SILENCE (Chickenshed Theatre)*****

 

by Sophie

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9RnRxg88Fg&t=1s

Available until: Unknown

Content warning: contains very strong language (spoken and projected) with content and themes which some audiences may find upsetting. Recommended for ages 15yrs+. (You don’t see any violence, but there are very vivid descriptions.)

Note: The sound is very quiet and the subtitles are small so if you are hearing impaired, you might need the sound on full blast and/or sit close to the screen. It’s worth the extra effort.

In the Absence of Silence has been developed over a number of years through work with female survivors of domestic abuse. The idea was formed in 2011, the work was begun in 2012 and the first version of this play was performed in around 2014. Six years later, Chickenshed Theatre have posted their production on youtube.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

THE COURAGE TO RIGHT A WOMAN’S WRONGS (Red Bull Theatre)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqVKp1pRUyE&feature=youtu.be

Available until: I think the early hours of 21st November 2020 if you’re in the UK but probably the afternoon/evening of the 20th if you’re in the USA.

The Courage to Right a Woman’s Wrongs is an English translation of Ana Caro’s Spanish play Valor, Agravio y Mujer. A direct translation would be Courage, Wrongs and Woman, but the title chosen for this production does tell you a lot more about the play.  

HENRY VIII (The Show Must Go Online)****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw5dKqdQ7dI

Available until: Forever

Henry VIII isn’t usually performed very often but this is the third production I’ve seen so I feel very lucky. It’s often the very last Shakespeare play people see to complete the set and I think it must be a lovely surprise because it’s a much better play than people expect.

Monday, November 16, 2020

THE WINTER’S TALE (UK Actors Support Network)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4r8Ll0Dz0B0&feature=emb_logo

Available until: Unknown

This Zoom reading of The Winter’s Tale was put together by actor John Craggs, founder of the UK Actors’ Support Network. This organisation was formed in 2018 to give support to actors, as well as providing news and information.

LITTLE WARS (Union Theatre)****

 

By Tommy

Link: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/theatre4all-online £12

Available until: Access is for 24 hours, beginning at 10am on the day of the ‘performance’. It will be available every day until 3rd December 2020.

Trigger warnings: Violence, rape, anti-Semitism, abortion

Little Wars is the fascinating story of seven women and the ways in which their lives change as a result of one single evening spent at the house of two of the women, Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. If you are fortunate enough to be considerably more well-read than I am, you might find those names familiar – and if not, you are almost certain to recognise the name of at least one of the other guests. The two writers, involved in a romantic relationship for many years, are joined by three other members of their profession: Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman and Agatha Christie. Also among them are psychiatrist Mary, who has arrived on the wrong day, and servant Bernadette.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

MISFITS (Queens Theatre Hornchurch)***


By Emma

Link: https://www.queens-theatre.co.uk/whats-on/show/misfits £15.65 (you have to choose a seat when you book but it’s just for fun, you can only watch this play from home)

Available until: Livestreams at from Thursday 17th-Sunday 22nd November at 7.30, plus matinées on Thursday and Saturday

When you think of people who come from Essex you usually think of bad fake tans and relationship problems. But actually people from Essex aren’t all like that and fake tan isn’t just an Essex thing. I’m not from Essex and I’d be lying if I’d never had a bad fake tan. That’s kind of the reason why Misfits was written. People from Essex don’t have the best reputation and that’s not fair because I’m sure Essex has just as many individuals as everywhere else. You can’t judge a whole county based on some reality TV show that’s only going to attract certain types of people.

TWELFTH NIGHT (Food of Love Productions)*****

 

By Dave

Link: https://foodoflove.ticketspice.com/twelfth-night-welcome-to-our-table $25

Available until: Monday 16th November at 6pm EST (or 10pm UK time). The live shows are in the past but it looks like you can still watch it.

It took a while to work out how to watch this but if you’re having problems, stick with it. It’s worth the time and effort. There have been a lot of great productions of Twelfth Night on offer during lockdown (this is at least my sixth) and this is right up there with the best. It also has a real individuality to its production and it didn’t feel like it was the sixth time I’d seen it in eight months. It felt fresh and new and I really enjoyed it.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

IT IS WHAT IT IS (Covid & Cigarettes/Aurora Theatre)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHw92erCCYo&list=PLwhWmWJPoEmF8P780nCvmV74Zv_kK-FGQ&index=1 

Available until: Unknown

Aurora Theatre had planned to celebrate their ten-year anniversary by having actual people in the theatre. We all know too well why that didn’t work out. But they have produced a series of thirteen short plays on their youtube account under the name of Covid & Cigarettes. The reasons why they needed to turn to online audiences are sad, but it does mean their work is now available to people not just in Hong Kong, where they’re based, but all over the world.

THE BUS STOP (Lung Ha Theatre Company/Traverse Theatre)****

 

By Arran

Link: https://www.traverse.co.uk/whats-on/event/the-bus-stop

Available until: Tuesday 8th December 11.59pm

The Bus Stop is about a man called Jack who suffers a disability hate crime. A passenger makes a horrible comment about him when he can’t get his wheelchair on the bus. Jack can’t forget about the way the passenger spoke to him and the way she saw him. People have said horrible things to me too because I can’t always talk and even a very quick comment said in a moment of frustration from someone who doesn’t know you can really hurt.

Friday, November 13, 2020

EMILIA (Globe Theatre/Vaudeville Theatre)***

 


By Sophie

Link: https://www.emilialive.com

Available until: 2nd December 2020

Emilia has been widely revered as one of the great plays of the modern age and there are certainly many good things in it. It’s the story of a fascinating woman, brought to the stage by a very interesting and multi-talented playwright and performed by a very strong team of actors and creatives who all happen to be female.

But my feelings are very mixed.

[TITLE OF SHOW] (London Coliseum)****

 

 

By Imogen

Link: https://londoncoliseum.org/whats-on/title-of-show

Available until: Livestreams on 13th and 14th November, 7.30pm

[title of show] is a musical that’s all about putting on a musical.

I thought it was new but it actually premiered in 2004 and was most recently performed in Auckland last year. I bet they had people actually going to see it too.

The original cast was Jeff Bowen, Heidi Blickenstaff, Susan Blackwell and Hunter Bell, who all played themselves. In this revival, the four actors use the names of the original cast, rather than their own names. So Marc Elliott plays Jeff, Lucie Jones plays Heidi, Jenna Russell plays Susan and Tyrone Huntley plays Hunter. I think it would have added an extra twist if they were playing themselves playing themselves, but maybe they’re not allowed to change the script.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

WORLD’S WORST COLLEAGUE (#Virus-Free Monologues)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De3PzEUE7_Q

Available until: Unknown

Some people say it isn’t a good thing to have expectations about a play, but I think sometimes having expectations can be really good. I don’t mean good or bad expectations, I mean more about having expectations about what the play is about.

If you don’t have expectations, the writer can’t surprise you and I think it is very good to be surprised sometimes.

CARDIFF EAST (The Far Away Plays)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sgyy6hNu4eE&t=356s

Available until: Unknown

Hoffwn i ysgrifennu fy adolygiad i yng Nghymraeg achos bod hi’n ddrama Gymraeg (ond bron y gyd yn Saesneg) ac rwy i’n caru Cymru, ond mae Cymraeg fel yn iaith gyfrinachol sydd dim ond ychydig o bobl yn ei deal e. A hefyd, dw i ddim in siarad Cymraeg yn rhy dda. (Os ydych chi’n siarad Cymraeg, rwy i’n siwr bod chi wedi sylweddoli hynny!)

That’s supposed to say: I would like to write my review in Welsh because it is a Welsh play (but nearly all in English) and I love Wales, but Welsh is like a secret language which only a few people understand. And also, I don’t speak Welsh very well. (If you speak Welsh, I’m sure you’ve realised that!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

RICHARD II (The Shows Must Go On)***

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Tzf3FZYqKM&t=1s

Available until: 16th November 2020

I think it must be really difficult to be a man sometimes. We say men have it easy but they don’t always because there’s so much pressure on them. If a man said he didn’t think Fiona Shaw was very good as Richard II in her 1997 film, you’d probably get loads of women calling him sexist. But he might not have a problem with women playing Richard II – just with one specific woman.

THE GAMBLER (Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet/OperaVision)***

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9Qx8YXUSEQ

Available until: 11th December 2020

I’ve never seen The Gambler before so I’m grateful to Opera Vision for giving me yet another opportunity to enjoy a new opera. It’s a bit of a funny one because none of the characters seemed to be particularly likeable apart from the little girl who was given a soft toy as a present but I did still enjoy it.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

TANGLED (Disney Cruise Live)****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XFiQWzU5wSQ

Available until: Unknown

Tangled is the Disney version of the story of Rapunzel and I watched it with my baby sister Barbara. She liked it a lot. She smiled whenever she saw Maximus the horse and she didn’t cry about anything that happened in the story. I have never seen the animated version of Tangled but I have seen lots of other Disney films and I love the stage versions of The Lion King and Aladdin.

CONNECTION (Thornhill Theatre Space/Ikarus Theatre Collaboratives)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOoto_6gmv0

Available until: Unknown

Connection tells a story which I think most people can relate to as so many of us are going through something similar. The story is set in the present day and the characters are a widowed man called Marco who has recently retired and his two children, Peachy and Benny.

Monday, November 9, 2020

ODD ONE OUT (Future Voices/Southwark Playhouse)

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUXxHealWI8

Available until: Unknown

It’s horrible being a teenager sometimes. I should know. I still feel like a teenager in my head. But some people have more than just the normal teen problems.

FAST FEED (Indiegogo)*****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/fast-feed-feature-film--2/x/25148831#/ From €6

Available until: Unknown but you get 48 hours’ access after using VIP code.

Fast Feed is depressing and uplifting at the same time. Depressing because the events referred to really happened and are still happening. Yet also uplifting because it makes you feel things can be better than that because there are people who care. There are some terrible things going on in the world, but most of us know they’re terrible and that means we can try to make things better. But, as this film shows, it’s important that we don’t try to take on too much.

CLEVER CAKES (Little Angel Theatre)*****

 

By Lottie and Ricky

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

Available until: Unknown

 

Sunday, November 8, 2020

BANDSTAND (Broadway/Stream Theatre)****

 


By Imogen

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/home

Available until: Further livestreams on Sunday 8th and Wednesday 11th November, all at 7.30pm

Trigger warning: War, death, possible terrible writing.

Bandstand was first performed in 2015 and opened on Broadway in 2017. The music was composed by Richard Oberacker and he wrote the book and lyrics with Robert Taylor. It is a very good musical but it isn’t anything like the pop style that is usually used now, like in Six or School of Rock (which actually has a very similar plot.) It isn’t even like Waitress which is more of a throwback to older styles but it also kind of isn’t because Sara Bareilles (who wrote the music and lyrics for Waitress as everyone except my granny knows) has a very individual style as a composer.

MACBETH: A CONJURING (Globe Theatre)*****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/whats-on/macbeth-a-conjuring-2020/ Standard £15, members £12, Concessions £5

Available until: 11th November 2020, 12.59pm

In case you’re wondering about the title, this is still Shakespeare’s Macbeth. It’s filmed in a smallish, rectangular room, which is lit with candles. You could actually describe this performance as a sort of séance, with (most of) the cast of the Globe’s 2018 production of Macbeth resurrected for this reading.

Saturday, November 7, 2020

DUKE BLUEBEARD’S CASTLE (LSO at St Luke’s)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6GSciEIl0IE&t=1s

Available until: Unknown

If you already know Duke Bluebeard’s Castle, you’re probably not going to find a better concert version. The usual problem with this opera is that it’s all about a creepy house and that is very difficult to stage in a concert hall. All you can do is listen to the music and try to imagine it. Most concert halls aren’t creepy at all – they’re new and posh and really comfortable. It really is all down to the singers, conductor and orchestra.

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

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuOxCWd2ZiA

Available until: forever

Content warnings: sexual assault, violence, gore

Cymbeline is one of the funny ones – and I’m definitely not calling it a comedy. (It’s actually listed as a tragedy, though I am a bit surprised by this.) Cymbeline is a funny one because it doesn’t make complete sense. You do have to suspend your disbelief. You do need to forgive some very bad behaviour in order to be happy with the ending.  You need a top-class cast in order to make this one work. Fortunately, this production is by TSMGO so you get your top-class cast and the rest is easy.  But it’s still a very strange play!

Thursday, November 5, 2020

FROM ME TO US*****

 

By Cal

Link:  This production premieres on 12th November at 7.15pm

Available until:

This film is about a single gay man who wants to be a dad. I am a (non-single) gay man who wants to be a dad, but I think it’s very important to make it clear that this film isn’t just for gay men who want to start a family – any more than American Moor was just for BAME viewers, or the A Light in Dark Places series was just for people who have experienced mental health problems. Those plays are for everyone and I believe From Me to Us is too – it is a very good film on a very important subject which I believe everyone needs to know about.

ROSEWATER (Tramp)*****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UnHq07HDm4

Available until: Unknown

I love seeing the one-word titles of Philip Ridley’s The Beast Will Rise series and trying to guess what it might be about. It could be about anything. There’s a flavoured water called rosewater. It can be used in recipes or on your skin or hair or it can be used for a perfume or aromatherapy. Google says you can also buy it in Waterstones, but I think google is lying. It’s always lying. Unless there’s a book called Rosewater, I suppose.

A LIVE STREAM WITH LEE MEAD: ON WITH THE SHOW (Brasserie Zedel/Crazy Coqs)*****


By Louise

Link: https://www.brasseriezedel.com/events/lee-mead

Available until: 6th November at 9pm

Lee Mead is best-known for winning Any Dream Will Do when I was eighteen months old, but he has also had a very wide-ranging career in musicals, concerts, pantomimes and plays. I really enjoyed his ‘A carppella’ concerts in his car on Instagram Live earlier in lockdown, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen him in a full-length concert with accompanists. I really hope it won’t be the last time because he is very good.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (Coronavirus Theatre Club)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyI1nqMMC90

Available until: Unknown

This is another monologue from the Coronavirus Theatre Club, one of the first. It was uploaded in April, which seems like a very long time ago. This story cuts off before the end, which is sad because I was really enjoying it, but I liked the six minutes I was able to watch.

BEING SHAKESPEARE (The Shows Must Go On/Trafalgar Studios)*****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=megvDyy3Wsk

Available until: Monday 9th November 2020

Shakespeare has told lots of stories (exactly how many depends on who you talk to but he wrote somewhere between 36 and 44 plays) but one story I didn’t know much about is the story of Shakespeare. I knew who he married and what his twins were called. I knew he was born in Stratford-upon-Avon. I knew he’d worked as an actor. I knew Queen Elizabeth I liked him and he liked her. And of course I knew he was a very very good writer. But I didn’t know very much else.

I WISH TO DIE SINGING (Finborough Theatre)****


By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROwZ8Ql6sZc

Link with subtitles: https://www.scenesaver.co.uk/production/i-wish-to-die-singing-subtitled/

Available until: 31 December 2020

Warning: 18+ Descriptions of violence, mutilation, sexual assault, murder, race hatred

In many ways, this feels more like a documentary than a play. There are positives and negatives which I’ll discuss later, but it led me to wonder why there are so few documentary plays. There are obviously a lot of documentaries on TV and a few documentary films, but plays seem to be almost exclusively telling stories. Some are true stories, but all are presented as a sort of fiction.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

THE WITCH (Shakespeare Happy Hours/Rude Grooms/Seven Stages Shakespeare Company)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=veSOknIgBf0

Available until: Unknown

Warnings: 16+ Love, loss and desire. Rape, incest, child sexual abuse, anorexia, drug addiction, mental instability, murder, suicide.

This is a bit crazy but definitely fun. It’s written by Thomas Middleton, who was a contemporary of Shakespeare’s (Middleton is younger, but there is an overlap), and there are similarities in the language, though I don’t feel it’s on Shakespeare’s level. Nothing really jumped out at me in the way Shakespeare’s language does. But it’s fun.

CRAVE (Chichester Festival Theatre)***

 

By Sophie

Link: https://www.cft.org.uk/whats-on/event/crave £10

Available until: The play will be livestreamed every night until Saturday 7th November, though performances from Thursday onwards will not have a live audience. There will also be a Saturday matinee.

It’s difficult to say exactly what this play is about or even what happens in the play. There are four characters who are onstage the whole time. They talk and sometimes they respond to each other, but a lot of the time, they’re saying what they’re thinking and feeling and remembering. Sometimes they characters are speaking out loud. Sometimes they give us an internal monologue. Sometimes it’s hard to tell. Even when they are speaking out loud, the other characters don’t necessarily hear them. They all have their own pain.

ENSEMBLES CONCERT (Royal Opera/Linbury Studio)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v62xt34iI20

Available until: Unknown but most of the Royal Opera videos are available until 24th November.

The Ensembles Concert was presented as part of Meet the Young Artists Week and it featured all the current Jette Parker Young Artists, along with their very welcome gatecrasher, last year’s graduate German Alcantara. They sing several duets (some of which became trios for part of the scene), some well-known and some not, before singing a quartet as a finale.

Monday, November 2, 2020

I PUT A SPELL ON YOU (Theatre Cafe)****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.thetheatrecafe.co.uk/livestreams/i-put-a-spell-on-you £10

Available until: 7th November 2020

The Theatre Café are really spoiling us! Not only do we get a Halloween-themed episode of The Theatre Channel, we get another concert! This is different as it’s more like a concert with individual performances rather than staged scenes but it’s a really enjoyable concert. There are so many different ways of enjoying musical theatre performers and I think it’s important that the online world offers us as many different ways as possible. It helps us to miss it less and the more concerts there are, the more work there is for performers.

WHAT A CARVE UP (Barn Theatre/Lawrence Batley Theatre/New Wolsey Theatre)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.whatacarveup.com £12 or £16 with goody bag (programme plus a selection of recipes)

Available until: The performance you book becomes available at 7.30pm on the day of the performance and can be accessed for 48 hours. The final performance is on 29th November 2020.

Warning: 16+ - features strong language and graphic descriptions of murder

What a Carve Up! is based on a novel by Jonathan Coe from 1991, though Henry Filloux-Bennett’s adaption includes scenes set in the present and addresses some of the issues we’re facing now. I would say What a Carve Up! is a film rather than a play as it is filmed on location - with social-distancing, from what I remember (I was too focused on the story to take note of this properly) though it seems very much a play about the distance between people, whether that’s physical or emotional or a time distance or separation due to death. The title might suggest a comedy and it has been described as a satire, but it didn’t really seem that way to me – though perhaps it might have done if I was old enough to remember Margaret Thatcher (I don’t even really remember Tony Blair but I’ve been told that’s probably for the best) or if I’d seen the comedy film from which the play takes his name. The political situation of the present seems more a tragedy than anything else and I can’t really imagine seeing the humour in it.

JUKE BOX 2 (Royal Opera)*****

 

 By Tommy

Link: https://stream.roh.org.uk/packages/jukebox-2/videos/jukebox-2

Available until: Sunday 29th December 2020

Earlier in the week, the Jette Parker Young Artists (plus one former member of the Programme) performed in Juke Box 1. Each Young Artist sang the opening of three different arias or songs and audience voted on youtube and facebook for their favourite. The winning songs were all performed in full in the Jukebox 2 concert.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

THE STRANGE CASE OF DR JEKYLL & MR HYDE (Blackeyed Theatre/Wilde Theatre)*****

 

By Dave

Link: https://blackeyedtheatre.co.uk/shows-2/on-demand/the-strange-case-of-dr-jekyll-and-mr-hyde/

Available until: This is quite confusing. Once you start watching it, you have to finish it within 72 hours. But you can start watching it anytime between now and 3rd February 2021. I’d guess that’s the last date to purchase it too.

Warning: Violence/ murder.

This isn’t an easy watch, any more than the book is an easy read. But it’s an excellent adaption which brings the story vividly to life and makes it very difficult for us simply to watch and accept what happens. It asks questions; difficult questions about right and wrong, good and evil, yet all the time, it shows us characters who are human beings.

DEEP NIGHT, DARK NIGHT (Globe Theatre)*****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/whats-on/deep-night-dark-night-2020/ Standard £15, Members £12, Concessions £5

Available until: 7th November 22.59pm.

Warning: The stories include descriptions of violence and there is occasional use of swear words.

This is a selection of three ghost stories, each told by a single actor. They’re very different in style and content, but all interesting and creepy.

Paul Ready performs The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. At first, his matter-of-fact tone doesn’t seem quite right for a ghost story and doesn’t immediately draw you in, but as you listen more to his words, the way he’s chatting almost casually makes the story even more chilling. Especially as his words sound like natural speech, which makes the story feel real. He does show more emotion later in the story, but that too is very clever because as his tension increases, so does ours. As he talks about the heartbeat, our own respond by quickening. If the emotion had come earlier, I don’t think it would have been so effective. As it is, the story creeps up on you and isn’t that exactly what you want?

Andrius Gaucas performs 50 Berkeley Square by writer-in-residence Sami Ibrahim. This story examines the different perspectives and truths to every real story. It’s a fascinating, many-layered story and I love the way Andrius tells it. He’s delightfully eccentric and full of personality. There’s such a great contrast between the lightness of his narration and the darkness of the subject matter.

Jessie Bedrossian performs I am Karyan Ophidian by Abi Zakarian. It’s a compelling and genuinely creepy story that definitely made me feel a bit uncomfortable! Perhaps it’s especially creepy because it’s obviously set in our world. A world of the internet. A world of lockdown. A world where we can’t be completely sure how safe we really are…

CATFISH THE MUSICAL (Turbine Theatre/Stream Theatre)***

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/home

Available until: Live performances Sunday 1st November at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.

I might be the wrong person to review this. It’s about being a teenager, which I know quite a lot about, but it’s all about social media and I don’t have instagram or twitter or anything like that. I think there is too much nastiness and toxicity on there. You’re never safe from the bullies and it’s like being at school the whole time and never coming home.

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...