Sunday, February 28, 2021

DIGITAL SHARING 5 (KickItDown Productions)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=58BFYzqA4CU

Available until: Unknown

Digital Sharing is a series of six episodes. Each episodes has three different plays in it. Some of them are on Zoom and have lots of people in. I think all the plays so far that have used Zoom are about people who really are on Zoom. Some of them are audio monologues for one person with the words appearing on the screen.

SHOWSTOPPER: THE IMPROVISED MUSICAL (27.2.21) (The Showstoppers)****


By Cal

Link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/x/showstopper-the-improvised-musical-livestream-tickets-138797088829?utm_source=eventbrite&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=reminder_attendees_event_starting_email&utm_term=eventname&ref=eemaileventremind

Available until: I’m not sure they said, but the video is usually available for a couple of days.

The Showstoppers are back with another hilarious and extraordinary improvised show. Once more, four intrepid Showstoppers put themselves into the hands of their audience and I don’t think they regretted it. The audience certainly didn’t.

SHARON ‘N’ BARRY DO ROMEO & JULIET (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch)***

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.queens-theatre.co.uk/whats-on/show/sharon-n-barry-do-romeo-and-juliet/

Available until: Livestreams on Zoom at various times every day (excluding Sunday) with the final performance on Sunday 6th March at 7.30pm. You’ll be automatically muted on Zoom but you can choose to be visible onscreen.

Sharon and Barry are a fictional couple who are in lockdown together. To pass the time they decide to perform Romeo & Juliet on Zoom for their friends. The play really does take place on Zoom. Sharon and Barry play all the roles themselves apart from the Prince, who is played by a girl called Alex (except in the performances where he is played by a boy called Alex but I saw the girl). Sharon and Barry are obviously living together in real life too and they share a screen but Alex has a separate screen. Some characters appear as dummies or cardboard cut-outs but they’re voiced by Sharon and Barry.

They don’t read the full play. There is quite a lot that is skipped over and explained as a narration but I don’t think they cut anything important and everything they did choose to do was great. There is also chatting between scenes while they set up the next scene and this is really funny. Sharon and Barry are great characters and I really like the way they talk to each other. There are a few mishaps as they go through the play and that is fun.

But this isn’t just a comedy about putting on a Shakespeare play. Sharon and Barry are both really good actors and they’re good at performing Shakespeare so you can enjoy it on that level too. Their Romeo & Juliet is funnier than the original but there are some really emotional moments too.

The production is directed by Douglas Rintoul and he has lots of really great ideas of how the different scenes can be set up to keep it different and interesting. I especially liked his idea for the bed. Nicola Thomas is the costume supervisor and I really liked all the costumes used in the play. Some of them aren’t very traditional but they do give you the right idea. Mercutio has a great costume at the masked ball.

Sharon is played by Joanne Seymour and Barry is played by David Nellist. They are both really funny. They make all the conversation between them sound really natural like they’re making it up as they go along (and maybe they are, maybe the script tells them to improvise). Joanne makes Sharon slightly bossy but with a really big heart. David makes Barry into the kind of man who probably needs a bit of bossing around. He takes it all very seriously and that’s sweet. Jessica Rothon does really well with reading the Prince’s lines and she has a lovely crown.

This is probably a great play for people who like Shakespeare but don’t always want to take it completely seriously. (And I don’t think Shakespeare always took it completely seriously himself.)

Saturday, February 27, 2021

POISON CROSS (Place Prints/New Perspectives)****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.newperspectives.co.uk/?idno=1168&s=82

Available until: Unknown

Poison Cross is the last in the Place Prints series and in a way it comes full circle and finishes where it started. The first episode was set in Warwickshire and starred Richard Lynch. The last episode is about a journey towards Warwickshire and one of the actors is Richard Lynch.

24, 23, 22 (Chronic Insanity)****

  

By Cal

Link: https://www.tickettailor.com/events/chronicinsanity

Available until: Friday 31st December

Chronic Insanity have not only embraced the concept of digital theatre, they have redefined it. In order to watch 24, 23, 22, you really need two devices – a laptop and a phone are recommended, though they can produce a version with two videos playing in unison, side by side, for anyone who has only one device.

GATSBY (Cadogan Hall/Web Gig Live)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://cadoganhall.com/whats-on/gatsby-a-musical-stream

Available until: Livestreams on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th February at 7.30pm. You can pause the stream if you want to.

The Great Gatsby is a really sad but romantic book and this musical is a beautiful retelling of that story. As I’m sure most people know, it’s set in the 1920s with flappers, parties and lots of intrigue. I don’t usually enjoy stories about love triangles as they tend to focus more on the drama, but The Great Gatsby (which is more of a love pentagon anyway) is far more focused on the emotional side and the genuine feelings of the characters, as well as exploring some of the difficulties that women in particular faced when they were getting married.

Friday, February 26, 2021

ABC: ANYTHING BUT COVID (Ugly Bucket/Home MCR)***

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://homemcr.org/production/abc-anything-but-covid

Available until: 1st August 2021

ABC: Anything But COVID is a fascinating and slightly scary look at what lockdown is like for normal people. I kind of missed out on the whole ‘not knowing what to do with myself’ thing. I was actually really looking forward to it but I kept finding things to do. Not so many things that I could actually get out of doing chores but enough to fill my time. And I didn’t even make any banana bread. Am I the only person in the world who’s never made banana bread? That would actually be quite iconic.

DAS SCHLAUE FUCHSLEIN (Wiener Staatsoper)*****

 

By Cal

Link: https://play.wiener-staatsoper.at/event/b5a9bb57-f759-414a-b215-5cf5842f169f/play

Available until: 26th February at about 6pm

I thought I didn’t know this opera at first, but then I looked more closely. The Cunning Little Vixen. Of course.

There are a few operas around with animals in, but not many, and those that do exist tend to be more for children. But you wouldn’t let your child watch this opera unless they were very tough. It’s a brilliant opera and the animals are always great to watch, but it’s very sad.

THE FOURTEENTH STOP (Dare Festival/Speaks of Rivers/Upstart Theatre)****

  

By Megan

Link: https://shoreditchtownhall.com/whats-on/dare-festival-2021

Available until: Livestreams at 5pm on Friday 26th and 3pm on Saturday 27th,

I think this is a very good play but it is very technical! You have to make an avatar and go on a virtual walk through the festival to the theatre and I didn’t understand what to do at first. You will need to use Zoom too. It might be better to go to the website early. Then you will have time to work everything out and you can enjoy it if you’re not worried about missing the play.

Thursday, February 25, 2021

HOW TO KILL YOUR MOTHER (Southwark Elders/Southwark Playhouse)*****

 

By Dave

Link: https://soundcloud.com/southwarkplayhouse/how-to-kill-your-mother-by-georgia-green

Available until: Unknown

As you get older, even when you’re actually quite young to anyone who’s not a twelve year old girl (who will give me the most wonderful eye-roll if she deigns to read this, just wait till you hit forty, young lady), it does sometimes happen that people show you a bit less respect. They act like you’ve lost your marbles when they’re actually all neatly in the box on the shelf. They act like your opinion doesn’t matter so much because you don’t know what you want, anyway. It’s sad and wrong. This incredible play demonstrates in all sorts of ways how wrong it is and how the older generations are actually kind of brilliant.

THE WEDDING (Gecko Theatre/Northern Stage/Nottingham Playhouse)**

 

By Cal

Link: https://northernstage.cogplayer.com/event/the-wedding

Available until: 27th February 2021

This play opens with a man putting on a wedding dress. Nobody behaves as though it’s odd – and that’s wonderful. It’s how it should be. I was looking forward to getting to know this character and watching his marriage.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

DIGITAL SHARING 4 (KickItDown Productions)****

  

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nuW8KQWRfA

Available until: Unknown

So this is the fourth episode in the Digital Sharing series by KickItDown Productions. In every show, three writers share a short piece, which is either filmed or presented as a voice-over audio drama with text. If you want to read about the first three episodes, you must restrain your curiosity till the end of this review. Very occasionally, I say something interesting and you don’t want to miss that.

KATJA KABANOVA (Wiener Staatsoper)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://play.wiener-staatsoper.at/event/7114f14f-8d91-44d3-acea-9a3387171ca0/play 

Available until: 25th February at about 6pm

I really enjoyed Mozart Week and also enjoyed Bel Canto Week and it looks like this week is Janáček Week. That sounds like quite a flippant comment, but it’s actually very exciting. While it can be nice to watch a different opera every week (or every day, as it has seemed like recently!) you can learn a lot about a composer (or a playwright or anyone else) from enjoying a few of their works in quick succession. Too many at once and it could become a bit of a chore, but a few at a time can be really interesting.

XCALIBUR (EMK Musical Company/Stream Theatre)***

 

By Jack

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/31

Available until: Livestreams every night at 7.30 until Sunday 28 February. Also matinees at 2.30 on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. (Well they’re livestreams in that they have to be watched at a specific time but it’s a recorded show.)

There’s a story in my family about King Arthur. One day when my aunt was about my age (13) her class was given a monarch quiz. My aunt didn’t know much so every time she didn’t know an answer, she put King Arthur. Apparently everyone cracked up so much when she got home and told them, they had trouble explaining King Arthur wasn’t real.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

THE BELLE’S STRATAGEM (Red Bull Theater)****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.redbulltheater.com/the-belles-stratagem

Available until: Friday 7pm EST or Friday/Saturday midnight in the UK

A lot of people criticise Shakespeare because he hasn’t written many good roles for women. I think they are totally wrong because what about Desdemona? What about Lady Macbeth? What about Viola? There might be a lot more male roles than female roles but I don’t think Shakespeare has presented women too badly really and they’re definitely not all the same.

But I think the people who criticise Shakespeare would love The Belle’s Stratagem. It was written nearly 200 years later and it is not really very Shakespearean but it is all sort of classical and elegant and very different from plays now.

IL TRITTICO (Royal Opera House)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://stream.roh.org.uk/products/il-trittico-2011

Available until: 7th March 2021

Il trittico is a series of three very different short operas by Giacomo Puccini. It is common for them to be performed together, just like Cavalleria rusticana is performed with Pagliacci, and Puccini did intend for them to be performed together. Il tabarro and Suor Angelica are serious dramas, set in a barge on a river and a convent. Gianni Schicchi is a family comedy. If they were composed by different people, they would probably never have become a trittico. Sometimes just two of the operas are presented rather than all three. Sometimes they present the two serious operas. Sometimes they leave out Suor Angelica as many see it as the weakest. Sometimes Il tabarro is left out as it is a darker and nastier opera than the other two.

Monday, February 22, 2021

SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD (Stream Theatre)***

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/46

Available until: Available on demand until 28th February

Content warning: Donald Trump

Songs for a New World is advertised as a musical and performed by musical theatre singers but it is very different from most musicals. The songs don’t tell a story (there is no dialogue). The singers don’t play the same characters every time they sing – sometimes they don’t play a character at all.

THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR (Nottingham Playhouse)*****

 

By Lottie & Ricky

Link: https://nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/events/the-very-hungry-caterpillar-on-demand

Available until: Sunday 28th February

 

Sunday, February 21, 2021

DOWNSTAIRS UPSTAIRS (Orange Horse Productions)*****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7kBxnT11_s

Available until: Unknown

This is so good! It’s very short but it’s also very sweet and exactly the length it needs to be. It leaves you wishing there was more but at the same time it feels like it ended in just the right place.

THE COLOR PURPLE (CURVE, LEICESTER)*****

  

By Cal

Link: https://www.curveonline.co.uk/whats-on/shows/the-color-purple-at-home

Available until: Livestreams at various times every day except Monday with the final show on Sunday 7th March at 5pm.

I’ve found there are two kinds of violent books. The ones where the main objective seems to be to write about something shocking and terrible. And the ones where the main objective is to tell a story.

When I read Alice Walker’s remarkable novel The Color Purple, it was clear it belonged in the second category. Some of the violence in the book is shocking and difficult to read about, but it’s there because it has to be. It’s part of the story Celie is telling. It’s there because Celie’s story needs to be told.

LA SONNAMBULA (Wiener Staatsoper)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://play.wiener-staatsoper.at/event/e04d8a15-ba3a-4bea-b935-ca599390f245/play

Available until: 22nd February around 6pm. There might also be future broadcasts.

Louise made a very interesting point about Hamburg Staatsoper’s production of Manon yesterday, mentioning all the ways Manon’s problems are similar to the problems a lot of young people face now.

Wiener Staatsoper’s La sonnambula (an opera I actually haven’t seen before though I have heard it) gave me similar feelings. There seems to be a big focus on jealousy and suspicion in the modern world. Trust seems to have gone right out the window – though as cheating also seems a big part of the modern world, maybe that’s fair enough. Also, the main character, Amina, is treated very badly because of a medical condition that’s misunderstood by society. There’s a lot of that about too but the advantage about the modern world is that more is known about conditions like sleep-walking.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

MISERABLE AUNT BERTHA (New Perspectives)*****

 

By Lottie & Ricky

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lqh3IhRtcd4

Available until: Unknown

BORED OF KNIVES (Flaw State/Greenwich Theatre)*****

 

By Cal

Link: https://greenwichtheatre.org.uk/events/bored-of-knives-online

Available until: Final performance on Saturday 20th February, 7.30pm

Content warning: None is officially given so I won’t give too much away, but the title is relevant and the play description includes the phrase ‘cycles of abuse’.

It’s incredibly sexist of me, but when I saw the title of the play and saw it was about two friends, I immediately assumed it was two boys. When I saw it was actually two girls, I was quite surprised… but also happy. Not so happy with my sexism, but very happy with the play. All I’d done was read the title and the first line of the synopsis and already the play was challenging my expectations. This was a very promising beginning – and Bored of Knives lived up to expectations.

MANON (Staatsoper Hamburg/OperaVision)****

 

By Louise

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

Available until: 12th March 2021

Manon by Jules Massenet was first performed in 1884. It is based on a book, Manon Lescaut, which was published in 1731. It is not a story which you might expect to be very relevant to the 2000s, but I thought this production was very relevant. It is partly that people probably haven’t changed that much, it’s more that customs and beliefs have changed. But I think it is relevant in other ways too.

Friday, February 19, 2021

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT (Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati/Stream Theatre)****

 

By Lottie & Ricky

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/42

Available until: 31st March 2021, 11.59pm

L’ELISIR D’AMORE (Wiener Staatsoper)****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://play.wiener-staatsoper.at/event/8837b898-1fdc-4f7d-9b6e-0f6349110e20/play

Available until: Probably 20th February at about 6pm UK time. There’s another showing on the 22nd at 6pm too.

When you think about Donizetti (if you actually know who he is, you wouldn’t believe the number of idiots who don’t), you often end up thinking about the tragic opera of Lucia di Lammermoor but Donizetti actually did loads of comedies too. This is probably his most famous one though it actually isn’t performed very often. If you go to an opera-themed concert and there’s a tenor there, there is a fair chance he’ll end up singing Una furtiva langrima (some tenors seriously need to extend their repertoire but to be fair it is a beautiful aria with technical and emotional challenges) but the other arias and ensembles aren’t nearly as well known.

GUANTANAMO BOY (Half Moon Theatre/Brolly Productions)*****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.halfmoon.org.uk/events/guantanamo-boy-film

Available until: 26th February

Content warning 12+ but there are scenes of torture.

Guantanamo Boy is a timely production. The Black Lives Matter movement has raised awareness of the despicable treatment faced by people of colour and this production raises awareness of a particularly horrific time which actually isn’t over yet. The title of the play comes from Guantanamo Bay, the name of an American military prison in Cuba. It was established in 2002, when George W. Bush was president and although Barack Obama wanted to close the prison and Joe Biden says he will close it, it remains open to this day. Biden’s predecessor, whom I prefer not to name as I don’t want him finding this page next time he googles himself, wanted to keep the prison open indefinitely. 40 prisoners remain, with nine dying in custody in the last few weeks.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

MONOLOG 4: GROUP B (Chickenshed Theatre)****

  

By Louise

Link: https://www.chickenshed.org.uk/Event/monolog4

Available until: Saturday 20th February

This is the fourth year that Chickenshed Theatre have had a monologue competition so it’s called Monolog 4. There were eight monologues selected for performance (though only seven are available to watch at the moment) and this is the second and final group.

DIGITAL SHARING 3 (Kickitdown Productions)****


By Tommy

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rO4kSAnNdU

Available until: Unknown

This Time Is Now begins with the three characters in separate screens. Jen appears very busy. Jamie is wandering around his home, half-dressed and uncertain. Marcus is having a drink, but there is no feeling of relaxation. He is drinking outside and drinking alone. We come to realise that the three characters work in the same establishment but are, due to lockdown, now working from home.

HYMN (Almeida Theatre)*****

By Cal

Link: https://almeida.co.uk/whats-on/hymn-live-stream/17-feb-2021-20-feb-2021

Available until: There will be livestreams at 8pm every night until Saturday 20th February. There is also a 3pm matinée on 20th February and an extra performance on Sunday 21st at 5pm. There are a limited number of tickets available for each performance to ensure a high-quality stream.

You can form a connection with another person in the strangest places. Sometimes it is literally a matter of seconds. My (adoptive) gran once saw a poem she loved in a bus stop (I’m guessing it was on the wall). A man came into the bus stop. He looked at the poem and they shared a glance. No words were exchanged, but she knew he loved that poem, just like she did. She knew he’d recognised that she loved it too.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

GOOD GRIEF (Platform Presents/Finite Films/Original Theatre)**

 

By Dave

Link: https://originaltheatreonline.com/productions/13/good-grief

Available until: 15th April 2021

This isn’t an easy review to write. I have honestly loved a lot of what Original Theatre have produced in lockdown. Watching Rosie and Apollo 13: The Dark Side of the Moon were both really great, Ms Goldie Vs the World was brave and The Haunting of Alice Bowles was a really interesting adaption of a great story.

ALL ON HER OWN (MZG Theatre Productions/Stream Theatre)*****

  

By Cal

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/29

Available until: Streams on Wednesday 17th, Thursday 18th, Friday 19th and Saturday 20th at 7.30pm, with additional shows on Friday 19th at 9pm, Saturday 20th at 2.30pm and Sunday 21st at 5pm.

All On Her Own is an outstanding piece of theatre which is brilliantly performed, but it did leave me wanting more.

THE MAGIC OF RED RIDING HOOD (Theatr Colwyn/Magic Light Productions)*****

 

 By Lottie & Ricky

Link: https://theatrcolwyn.co.uk/shows/the-magic-of-red-riding-hood-online

Available until: Friday 26th March


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

WINDOWS PART 4: LIMITLESS (Off Ya Trolley Productions)****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PhZQBHJFB6c

Available until: Evening of Sunday 21st February

Being a mum changes you. It’s not just the responsibilities of growing up and having to try even harder to do the right thing – knowing that you’ll often get it wrong, at least in your kids’ eyes. I didn’t realise until I saw this monologue how much it has changed me.

ANNA KARENINA (Stage Russia/Stream Theatre)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/30

Available until: Performances every day at 7.30 until Sunday 21 February, with matinées on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 2.30pm.

There is a story in my family about when my mum, my granny and my great-aunt went to see a stage production of Anna Karenina. The scenery was just two chairs my mum and my granny thought it was one of the best plays they had ever seen. My great-aunt said “It was nothing without the scenery.”

DUST (Half Moon Theatre/Z-arts)***

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.halfmoon.org.uk/events/dust-film

Available until: Available from 11am every day except Sundays from 16th February until 26th February. You have 14 days in which to watch it.

Sometimes when you watch a play that’s aimed at children, you totally get into your inner child and enjoy it on a child level. Pantomimes can be a lot of fun (actually even more so when your almost-teenaged kids are mortified that you’re watching one at such an advanced age). Quite a few of the Disney films have been turned into really great stage musicals. There have been a few lockdown shows aimed at kids which I’ve really enjoyed.

Monday, February 15, 2021

HERE WE STAY (Place Prints/New Perspectives)***

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.newperspectives.co.uk/?idno=1168&s=82

Available until: Unknown

My impression (which could easily be wrong) was that the other pieces in the Place Prints series were written in lockdown, or at least recorded in lockdown. Here We Stay was recorded from a live performance in 2015.

ROMEO & JULIET (RomeoJuliet2021/Metcalfe Gordon Productions)****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://www.romeojuliet2021.com/tickets

Available until: Performances at 7pm from Monday 16th-Saturday 27th February. Matinées on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 2.30pm.

If you’re one of the idiots who thinks musical theatre actors aren’t proper actors, you need to watch this production of Romeo & Juliet. Romeo is played by gorgeous Sam Tutty who was starring in the brilliant new musical Dear Evan Hansen in the West End when our entire industry got shut down.

PONGO’S PARTY (Stream Theatre)****

 

By Lottie & Ricky

 Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/35

Available until: 31st March, 11.59pm

 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

VALENTINE’S SKETCH SHOW (Northern Comedy)****

 

By Sophie

Link: https://northerncomedytheatre.com/valentines-sketch-show

Available until: Shows at 2pm, 5pm, 7pm and 9pm on 14th February, followed by shows at various times on 13th, 14th, 15th, 16th, 17th 18th and 19th February.

Northern Comedy’s Valentine’s Sketch Show consists of a number of sketches based around the theme of love. COVID restrictions mean that all the interactions must take place on Zoom, but Northern Comedy have managed to think of numerous stories to tell in which proximity is not only inessential but an important part of the scene.

DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL (Wiener Staatsoper)****

 

By Sophie

Link: https://play.wiener-staatsoper.at/event/16483d02-b762-475b-9871-27552e6373f5/play

Available until: Probably until the evening of 15th February. There might also be future broadcasts.

Die Entführung aus dem Serail wasn’t strictly my first opera. That was Lulu and I think if you can sit through something through that strange and still want to come back for more, you probably are going to end up being an opera fan. But finding the music shop next to English National Opera’s Coliseum and buying the wonderful recording of Die Entführung by William Christie and Les Arts Florissants probably did help a lot in the matter of ensuring I went back the following week.

LOVE DOWN THE LINE (New Perspectives)*****

  

By Sophie

Link: https://www.newperspectives.co.uk/?idno=1168&s=87

Available until: Sadly, this is sold out but as the run has proved so popular, perhaps it might be extended. Especially now all the good reviews are coming out.

Love Down the Line is a special Valentine’s Day experience devised by New Perspectives. Everyone who books a play receives a phone call from one of the two actors involved in the project, Sophia Hatfield and Ollie Smith. 

Saturday, February 13, 2021

A COMEDY OF TECHNICAL ERRORS (Shakespeare Institute Players)***

  

By Emma

Link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/a-comedy-of-technical-errors-tickets-139086201573?keep_tld=1

Available until: Monday 16th February 6am (GMT)

A Comedy of Technical Errors is lots of fun and very clever. It isn’t a rewrite of The Comedy of Errors but a few characters do get mentioned. There also aren’t that many technical errors and when it does happen it’s part of the story, like when a character can’t get Zoom to work properly.

It starts off with two girls called Jen and Vicky presenting a news show and then the Prince (whose pronouns are ‘she/her’ and why not?) announces they’re going into lockdown. Over the rest of the show, we check on how various characters from Shakespeare are coping with the new normal. There are lots of references to Shakespeare plays and also to lots of the different things we’ve had to get used to in lockdown.

DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE (Wiener Staatsoper)****

  

By Megan

Link: https://play.wiener-staatsoper.at/event/5c5ac0e1-0487-4feb-8225-b783769885e5/play

Available until: Probably until around 6pm (GMT) on 14th February but that might not be how it works. There is another broadcast on 17th February which is available from 6pm.

Content warning: If this was a play I would be expected to warn about certain things so I probably should here too. It sounds like they’ve taken out the racism but a white character has their appearance altered so they look like a person of colour and there are two suicide attempts and lots of loud noises like bangs and thunder. There is also a bit with hunting which is sad.

Die Zauberflöte or The Magic Flute as it’s called in English is a really magical opera. It’s not just the flute that is magic. There are some magic bells too and lots of effects like flying which aren’t magic in the opera but they are magic for the people who are watching. Even when you can see they aren’t really flying, it is still exciting watching them go up to the ceiling.

MONOLOG 4: GROUP A (Chickenshed Theatre)***

  

By Dave

Link: https://www.chickenshed.org.uk/Event/monolog4

Available until: Unknown

Monolog 4 is the fourth year in which Chickenshed Theatre has produced a series of monologues. Usually, this takes place in a theatre. Monologue 4 also takes place in a theatre but I am assuming there is no audience. But while theatres are restricted in what they can do, many people have more time on their hands to write and more monologues were submitted for Monologue 4 than in previous years.

Friday, February 12, 2021

WHERE THERE IS NO MORE SEA (Place Prints/New Perspectives)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.newperspectives.co.uk/?idno=1168&s=82

Available until: Unknown

This Place Print is sad in lots of ways, but it is also beautiful and inspiring. It describes a really terrible event which I wouldn’t want to happen to anyone, but it is about sticking to your beliefs and not giving in and I think that can be very admirable. I am glad we now live in a world where so many different beliefs are permitted, though of course we still have a long way to go in some areas.

FOR ONCE (Theatr Clwyd)****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.theatrclwyd.com/event/secret-stream-5 (hopefully you can still go through the booking process to watch this. If not the youtube video is probably still active. It’s unlisted so I’m not allowed to post it here but maybe Theatr Clwyd can give you the link.)

Available until: Unknown

For Once is the latest play in the series of ‘Secret Shows’ presented by Theatr Clwyd. This is the fourth Secret Show play we’ve watched so I think maybe we missed the first two? Anyway, these plays are announced as Secret Shows and they give you the date and it’s only nearer the time that they tell you what the show is going to be. It is possible to book the sixth one now but it doesn’t say what it is.

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

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.patreon.com/posts/tsmgo-pericles-47333771 Everyone currently signed up to Patreon has access. If you’re not, it’s easy to sign up and there’s a range of price levels.

Available until: Unknown

The Show Must Go Online is back! After presenting all the plays in the First Folio last year, there was a clamour among groundlings for Pericles to be added to complete the set and TSMGO have done it – in style.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

DIGITAL SHARING 2 (Kickitdown Productions)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIYujPkD58E 

Available until: Unknown

Part 2 of Digital Sharing consists of three more contrasting short dramas, two filmed on Zoom and one audio.

LA CLEMENZA DI TITO (Wiener Staatsoper)*****

 

By Dave

Link: https://play.wiener-staatsoper.at/event/1ce883b8-d4ae-4d83-8e77-d68fd056a291/play

Available until: I’m not sure but Don Giovanni is still available more than 24 hours after broadcast and Figaro is no longer available 3 days after broadcast. So I’d guess at all of them being around for 48 hours but that is a guess. There is another broadcast on 16th February from 6pm.

La clemenza di Tito is generally included in the list of Mozart’s best-known operas but although it’s performed more often than works like La finta giardiniera, Mitridate, re di Ponto and Il re pastore, it’s definitely not up there with the Da Ponte operas and Die Zauberflote and it’s probably performed a bit less often than Idomeneo and Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail (though this is open to debate, I haven’t sat down and done a survey).

#FUTURE LOADING (Dark Horse Theatre/Lawrence Batley Theatre)****

 

By Arran

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irsjDBqbYfY&t=606s

Available until: Unknown

#Future Loading is a project where Dark Horse Theatre worked with adults and aspiring adults. In this video they interview three young people with learning disabilities or who are neurodiverse and ask them about what it means to be an adult.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

THOU SHALT NOT **** A TORY (Coronavirus Theatre Club)***

  

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLIlWn1jbTk

Available until: Unknown

Content warning: Language, mature themes and politics. Lots of boring grown-up stuff.

At least with lockdown there’s a bit of time to talk first. Time to ask someone’s political leanings before you jump into bed with them. It probably helps.

DON GIOVANNI (Wiener Staatsoper)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://play.wiener-staatsoper.at/event/503f1870-b9b8-42dd-b305-53da32279365/play

Available until: Wiener Staatsoper productions seem to be available for about 24 hours. There is another broadcast on 14th February.

Wiener Staatsoper continues its series of livestreams (mostly but not exclusively Mozart) with the opera many people (including me) consider to be his greatest: Don Giovanni. (Though you’ve got to admit, it has some very close competition.)

WINDOWS PART 3: BAGGAGE (Off Ya Trolley Productions)****

 

By Tommy

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqXded0y2Sk&feature=youtu.be

Available until: Sunday 14th February

It unfortunately isn’t possible to watch the first two monologues in this series, but perhaps there is an advantage in watching and evaluating this one on its own terms, without any comparisons or expectations based on what has gone before.

Windows explores emotions experienced in lockdown – a vast subject, considering it has been part of our lives every day for almost a year. Even when not officially locked down, there are rules that must be followed, yet also an understanding that not everybody will respect them. Returning home from any outing can be something of a relief, but, as this monologue shows so eloquently, it does not make every problem disappear.

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

TO THE WATERS AND THE WILD (Place Prints/New Perspectives)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.newperspectives.co.uk/?idno=1168&s=82

Available until: Unknown

If there is another series like Place Prints, I’ve never watched, heard or read it. Every Place Print not only tells a different story, it tells its story in a different way. The imagination David Rudkin has put into these stories has been eye-opening and I’m sure that when we’re allowed to go out again, I’ll be looking at places in new ways – and of course I’d love to visit some of the places described in this series.

JACK THE RIPPER (South Devon Players)***

 

By Jack

Link: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/southdevonplayers/t-lgvgxe

Available until: 15th February

Jack the Ripper was supposed to be streamed a few days ago but because of the illness of the broadcast technician it was postponed to tonight.

That was obviously bad luck for them and not a lot of fun for the poor broadcast technician, hopefully they’ll be better soon. But as it sounds like tickets will still be available to buy for a bit longer so it seemed worth whacking in a review.

THE WINTER’S TALE (Shake-Scene Theatre Company)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XRQSH7DYgA

Available until: Unknown

The Winter’s Tale isn’t one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, but it has been one of the ones I have seen the most performances of in lockdown. 

Maybe this is because it’s a wonderful play with a lot of interesting themes which are relevant to today. The separation from some family members is something which I’m sure we have all experienced and a lot of people can identify with Leontes’ mental health problems too. Not his exact situation, but he believes something so strongly, he can’t accept that something else might be true and he doesn’t know how to deal with it. The Winter’s Tale (I hope this is not a spoiler) also brings hope that we might get a happy ending too, but it’s not a completely happy ending. Some things can’t go back to the way they were and that is something that is relevant for us too.

Monday, February 8, 2021

RIPPLES (Compacts)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DvHKxqumZh0

Available until: Unknown

Warning: Contains themes of suicide

I actually didn’t read the warning before I watched this play. I just clicked on the video and watched. Just watching this with no ideas or expectations of what might happen was a really powerful experience but because of the seriousness of the themes, I can’t really advise people to do the same thing.

LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (Wiener Staatsoper)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://play.wiener-staatsoper.at/calendar

Available until: There is another broadcast on 11th February at 6pm (probably 5pm in the UK) but I didn’t watch it live so it’s available for at least a while after broadcast.

Note: The subtitles are automatically set to German, but they are also available in English and Italian.

Le nozze di Figaro is probably my favourite opera. The music is really beautiful, the story is really good and the characters are great so it is quite difficult not to enjoy Figaro, but every so often you see a production that is really really special. This is one of them.

GARFIELD (The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati/Stream Theatre)***

 

By Lottie & Ricky

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/39

Available until: 14th February 2021 (on demand)

 

Sunday, February 7, 2021

DIGITAL SHARING 1 (Kickitdown Productions)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zk9qmScoyF8

Available until: Unknown

Kickitdown Productions livestreamed these plays during December. Now they’re available to watch on youtube. The first three make up Digital Sharing 1. There are six collections altogether and they’ll all be reviewed over the next couple of weeks.

A HUNGER ARTIST (CVIVArts)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=fzEfgOYGM3g&t=38s

Available until: Unknown

A Hunger Artist is based on a short story of the same title, written by Franz Kafka, streamed earlier in lockdown and now available on YouTube. It tells the story of a man who fasts for forty days, publicly. People come to see him, sometimes every day, either to observe this remarkable feat or to catch him out because he can’t really be going completely without food… can he?

GRIMMZ FAIRY TALES (Stream Theatre)****

 

By Alba

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/40

Available until: 31st March 2021

I’m much too old for normal fairy tales. I’m 9. Or maybe I’m not 9 yet but I will be. By the time you read this I might even be 10.

The Grimmz Fairy Tales have been written for people who are at least 8 so I don’t mind watching it. They do Snow White, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel and Rapunzel in an hour. It’s a good length for a play because there’s less time to get bored.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

THESE CLOUDED HILLS/Y BRYNIAU CYMYLOG HYN (Place Prints/New Perspectives)****

 

By Megan

Link: https://www.newperspectives.co.uk/?idno=1168&s=82 (available in English and Welsh)

Available until: Unknown

This Place Print is about a sixteen year old girl called Mary Jones. For years, she has dreamed of owning her own Welsh Bible. A kind lady called Mrs Evans has allowed Mary to read her Bible and learn the stories but Mary really wants one all of her own.

SHOOK (Papatango Theatre Company)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://papatango.co.uk/product/shook

Available until: 28th February 2021

Shook won the Papatango New Writing Prize in 2019. It went on to have a short run at the Southwark Playhouse, but a planned run at the Trafalgar Studios last year had to be cancelled along with the rest of the West End shows.

Friday, February 5, 2021

WE ASK THESE QUESTIONS OF EVERYBODY (Mahogany Opera Group)***

 

By Sophie

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5lcG-12FCW8&t=171s

Available until: 28th February 2021

When the Conservatives came into power and the world began to fall apart, they decided to restructure the benefit process. At that stage, people with disabilities were claiming a benefit called Disability Living Allowance. The Government planned to scrap this and replace it with something called Personal Independence Payment. Both benefits give financial support to people with physical and mental health problems and disabilities.

Thursday, February 4, 2021

CENDRILLON (Royal Opera)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://stream.roh.org.uk/packages/cendrillon-cinderella-2011/videos/cendrillon-cinderella-2011

Available until: 21 February 2021

The story of Cinderella has been mentioned on this blog quite a lot. It is a very popular story for a pantomime and there were a few livestreamed versions, including Covidella and the Masked Ball. Glyndebourne Festival Opera put their production of La Cenerentola on YouTube. Imogen reviewed Into the Woods, which includes Cinderella.

RIBENA (Press Play Here/Theatre Royal Stratford East)****

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76LvjmmXPW8&t=0s

Link with captions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPdlVD2MdwU&t=0s

Link with audio description: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8cKICP64Yk&t=0s

Available until: Unknown

Age guidance: 12+

I can’t even remember the last time I had a Ribena. That’s bad. Of course, you can’t just wander into a shop like you used to. It all has to be carefully calculated. I mean, there’s usually drinks at home. Even if it’s not Ribena class. Do you risk the coronavirus for the Ribena? Or let the Ribena go and protect each other and the NHS? Put it like that and you can see how some people are living without Ribena.

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

NEMETON (Place Prints/New Perspectives)*****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.newperspectives.co.uk/?idno=1168&s=82

Available until: Unknown

This is amazing! It’s the story of a walk in Cornwall, following a path, past trees and bushes. It sounds quite boring when I say it like that but it isn’t boring at all.

It’s different from the others, it doesn’t have the creepy, supernatural feel but it’s so powerful. I closed my eyes for this and maybe you should too. David Rudkin has written this so clearly and so well, it felt like I could see everything that was described. It was an unbelievable experience, the voice says what you see and you kind of see it but then you hear more details and whatever you were imagining kind of twists and changes in your head till it really looks like what is being described. It’s told in the second person (which can be really annoying in books but it works with something like this) so you literally are being told what you can see.

HINDLE WAKES (U.K. Actors Support Network)*****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0lzCMVclgc

Available until: Unknown

Hindle Wakes was written in 1910, but it makes some interesting observations about gender and class. We might like to think we have moved away from some of the conventions and beliefs of the early twentieth century, but I think the issues explored in this play do exist today and that makes this play not just very enjoyable but very relevant.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

THE BEAR (International Actors Ensemble/Circle in the Sand/Alex Theatre)*****

 

By Cal

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

Available until: Unknown

At just over thirty-three minutes long, The Bear is much shorter than most of the International Actors Ensemble’s projects, but it is no less brilliant. Anton Chekhov is known for his miserable plays, which tend to feature a fair amount of crying and dying, but this one is absolutely hilarious.

MESSIAH (Bristol Old Vic/English Concert/Erebus Ensemble)*****

 

By Megan

Link: https://bristololdvic.org.uk/whats-on/messiah

Available until: If you buy a Season Pass you’ll have access until 28th February. Or you can rent it for 48 hours.

I love the Messiah. My mum sang it at the Royal Albert Hall and my uncle sang it at the Barbican but I didn’t go because I wasn’t born yet. It is a really beautiful piece of music by George Frideric Handel and this production is especially magical.

The Messiah isn’t a theatrical work. It is an oratorio which is written for a choir and four soloists – a soprano, a contralto or mezzo-soprano (or sometimes a counter tenor), a tenor and a bass or baritone, though sometimes there are extra soloists like having a counter tenor as well as a contralto. Something else that sometimes happens is that a boy treble will sing some of the soprano music and that happened in the Bristol Old Vic’s production.

Monday, February 1, 2021

LOVE IN A WOOD (Jermyn Street Theatre)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KMk54jMPCk

Available until: February 14th

Love in a Wood; or St James’s Park is the first play by William Wycherley. He says he wrote it when he was nineteen, but some people disagree as the play refers to things which didn’t exist when he was nineteen. I think maybe he wrote his first draft when he was nineteen and then edited it later and included some of the latest modern things to make the play seem more current? I might be wrong, but I think it’s possible. (It’s not the same as the 1915 film called Love in a Wood, which is based on As You Like It.)

PETER PAN (Chickenshed Theatre)****

 

By Lottie & Ricky

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?dm_i=4HI8%2C104DF%2C6FYIO0%2C4J2R2%2C1&v=OPfgd0YWcsE&feature=youtu.be

Available until: Unknown

 

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...