Friday, May 14, 2021

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 emotional monologue and it only gets more emotional as you slowly work out what the situation is and what it means.

SHUCK (LaPelle’s Factory/Nottingham Playhouse)***

 

By Dave

Link: https://nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/events/shuck-on-demand

Available until: 28th May

A lot of theatres have used the pandemic as an opportunity to tell stories. One or two actors onstage, social distancing, sometimes reading aloud and sometimes from memory.

The Nottingham Playhouse also used this approach with Ghost Stories with Mark Gatiss and it’s a good idea. It helps to keep the performers safe, it reduces the need for props and as a sort of amalgamation between audiobooks and theatre – a sort of onstage, in this case acted out audiobook – it’s bound to appeal to a lot of theatregoers because we like to be told stories and if we can see the story being enacted in front of us, even better.

SOPHIA (Curiosa Films/Be For Films/Your Screen/The Place Bedford)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.theplacebedford.org.uk/shows/sophia-2018-online-film

Available until: 23rd May 2021

Most films are there to tell a story and to entertain the audience. If there’s any education or awareness-raising aspect, that’s a bonus, but the primary purpose of a film is usually to entertain in some way (and to make money, though that’s more a necessity than a creative element).

Thursday, May 13, 2021

CLOSE QUARTERS (Aurora Theatre)***

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwhWmWJPoEmHqEQek0JGlt2JEeD4eVPIX

Available until: Unknown

Aurora Theatre have been posting a lot of videos throughout lockdown and we’ve reviewed quite a lot of them. Their plays have been really international with cast and crew members in different continents.

Close Quarters is a bit different because the two characters are in the same place and they’re not social distancing but it’s still really good. It’s a sitcom about Greg and Samantha, a couple who are getting on quite well but they’re not ready to move in permanently.

HOUSE MOTHER NORMAL (New Perspectives/Brighton Festival)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://brightonfestival.org/whats-on/house-mother-normal-online-3112

Available until: 31st May. You’ll be sent a link shortly before 8pm on the day of the booked performance. You’ll have access for 48 hours. Captioned version is available.

It is incredibly brave to produce a play such as this in current times, but it is a decision I completely support and, if anything, the production might be a little overdue.

OUR DARK SIDE AND THE MOON: A NIGHT-TIME DUET (8bit/Royal Opera)****

  

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJfbSr2XIvA 

Available until: 30th May

Our Dark Side and the Moon is part of the Royal Opera’s 8bit series of newly-commissioned vocal and dance pieces that can be enjoyed for free online. The aim of the series is to push the boundaries of opera and ballet and this one is inspired by the Moon and Mars landings.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

THE STATEMENT (Actor Monologues by Philip Pugh)****

 

By Jack

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emHS99RaRlg

Available until: Unknown

The Statement is a bit dark but I like it!

A student has died and the Head has to prepare a statement to say how sad she and the whole school are to learn of this girl’s untimely passing.

SACRAMENT (Minerva Productions/Plays on Film/King’s Head Theatre)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://kingsheadtheatre.com/whats-on/sacrament

Available until: 12th May

Trigger Warning: This production contains scenes of sexual violence.

Sacrament is quite a grown-up play in some ways. I hope it wasn’t wrong for me to watch it. I couldn’t find an age rating, but I’m fifteen so I’m old enough to watch some grown-up things. I think this is a really lovely play about finding out who you are.

BELFAST BLUES (Irish Repertory Theatre/Stream Theatre)*****

 

 By Cal

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/102 

Available until: 16th May

There are some things in life which don’t really belong in the medium of comedy. These include, but are not restricted to, bombs, guns and childbirth. Bombs and guns can intentionally cause death; in childbirth, death is unintentional but no less tragic. In order to make these things funny, you would need an extraordinarily gifted writer and performer who can find the humour in these situations but deliver it with compassion and respect.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

NIGHT WORK (Penny Dreadfuls from the Moth Sanctuary)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9qZXxsGi3M

Available until: Unknown

Night Work is another incredibly creepy original story from Moth Sanctuary Productions in their Penny Dreadfuls series. As always, the standard is very high and each story introduces us to a completely different world with new characters, situations and horrors.

SELFIE (The Place Bedford)***

 

 By Emma

Link: https://www.theplacebedford.org.uk/shows/selfie_onlinefilm

Available until: 15th May 2021. You can start watching it anytime between now and 15th May, but once you’ve started it, you have to finish watching it within 48 hours.

I think we all know really that social media isn’t necessarily the best idea. It can get you into all sorts of trouble and so many things can go wrong. But sometimes it feels as though there’s no other option than to use social media and when you do finally give in and try it, you realise how addictive it can be.

AN ACORN (Oldham Coliseum/impel Theatre)**

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.coliseum.org.uk/shows/an-acorn-recorded-6401ag

Available until: 17th May 2021

The thing about audiences is we can be very lazy. We’re usually happy to put in the psychological work to find out what it’s all about. We’re usually happy to put in the emotional work so we can engage with the story and the character. We’re usually happy to put in the physical effort involved in getting to the performance. But we do have limits.

Monday, May 10, 2021

MAIN-MAIN ENGINE ROOM TAKEOVER (Rumah Khai/Omnibus Theatre)*****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRfptpSM5Iw

Available until: Unknown

Main-Main is a word from the Malay language and it means ‘playing’. The idea behind it is to encourage the artists to play in whatever way they want to. To explore their creativity and share it with us. The result is very interesting, original and thought-provoking.

SCHOOL’S OUT (Virus Free Monologues)*****

 

By Emma

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

Available until: Unknown

School’s Out is such a clever monologue. I really like plays that surprise me and don’t go where I’m expecting it to go. “School’s out” is a really well known phrase so I went into this with expectations of what it would be about and I was wrong. I love being wrong about things like this!

DINOSAURS AND ALL THAT RUBBISH (Roustabout Theatre/Watermans Art Centre)*****

 

By Megan

Link to Episode 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vej2H3bvpg8

Link to Episode 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MVeVMYuvDs0

Link to Episode 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whpD5itVWlM

Available until: Unknown

Dinosaurs and All That Rubbish is a play in three parts, based on a picture book by Michael Foreman which was published fifty years ago. It is an adventure story for children and it’s a lot of fun but it also teaches children about the importance of science and caring about the environment.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

FERAL (Atmospheres 2021/Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.rwcmd.ac.uk/events/feral

Available until: 9th May 2021

Feral is a stunning and inventive opera. At just under ten minutes, it’s probably not quite the shortest opera I’ve seen or heard (I think Samuel Barber’s A Hand of Bridge just about has the edge there) but the ideas in it are so interesting, I could easily see it becoming a full-length work.

EUGEN ONEGIN (Wiener Staatsoper)*****

 

By Sophie

Link: https://play.wiener-staatsoper.at/event/ee614b25-8435-479b-baab-21b887943915/play 

Available until: 10th May at about 6pm

It is often said that the modern world is cruel and there is certainly a great deal of truth in that. But the world has always been cruel to people who are perceived as being unlike everyone else.

The difference now is that our lives are so public, it is harder even for the so-called normal people to hide the moments when they are less than perfect. Anyone can become the butt of the very next joke and many people seek out the relative safety of laughing along with the crowd.

CORAM BOY (Atmospheres 2021/Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.rwcmd.ac.uk/events/coram-boy

Available until: 9th May 2021

Coram Boy appears to be incomplete, with only Part 1 featuring as part of this performance. But it’s a great opera and it’s free to watch so if you listen to it now, you’ll know if you like it and if you ever do get the opportunity to watch the full opera, you’ll know it’s worth paying for.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

PRELUDES (Southwark Playhouse)*****

 

By Sophie

Link: https://www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show-homepage/preludes-in-concert

Available until: Livestreams on Saturday 8th May at 3.15pm and 7.45pm. The show remains available for a couple of hours after broadcast.

Plays about composers have a habit of being exceptional. The first I recall was a production of the play Beethoven’s Tenth at the Watford Palace, at a time when I was much too young to appreciate the nuances of the work but old enough to believe the leading actor was the real Beethoven. Later, I saw brilliant productions of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus at the Old Vic and National Theatres, with two very different but excellent Mozarts in Michael Sheen and Adam Gillen, joined by two equally brilliant Salieris in David Suchet and Lucian Msamati. (I probably had entirely the opposite experience to most people in my delight at discovering that “Hercule Poirot is played by Salieri!” and am now very excited by Google’s suggestion that ‘the real Beethoven’ was played by another Poirot, Peter Ustinov, who also wrote Beethoven’s Tenth.)

COX AND BOX/TRIAL BY JURY (University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society)****

 

By Louise

Link: https://events.umich.edu/event/83221

Available until: Shows on 8th and 9th May at 5pm in the UK (2pm in Michigan).

The writing team of W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan are probably best-known for their longer operettas like The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and HMS Pinafore, but they also wrote some shorter works and Cox and Box and Trial by Jury work really well together.

TENNIS ELBOW (Pitlochry Festival Theatre/Naked Productions/Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh/Sound Stage)**

 

By Cal

Link: https://lyceum.org.uk/whats-on/production/tennis-elbow

Available until: Livestream on Saturday 8th May at 7pm.

Tennis Elbow was written by the acclaimed Scottish playwright John Byrne, some thirteen years after what many probably believed to be his last play. It is a sort of sequel or companion piece to another play what he wrote (bad grammar intentional), Writer’s Cramp.

Friday, May 7, 2021

OH BY THE WAY, I HATE MYSELF (Elysium Theatre Company)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddOcAMgO8TY

Available until: Unknown

Oh By the Way, I Hate Myself is a really brave monologue. Brave for the writer and the actor. It goes against social conventions and I can imagine that some people might be upset by it. But I’m not. Although I’ll never be in this situation myself, I think it’s very real and honest – more real and honest than many people are in this character’s situation – and I think quite a lot of people would identify with it, even if they don’t feel able to admit to it.

ONE HALF OF TWO (The Cockpit)***

 

By Aashiq

Link: https://www.thecockpit.org.uk/show/one_half_of_two 

Available until: 8th May

Age recommendation: 12+

One Half of Two is about three young women whose boyfriends have all turned out to be complete and utter FAECES. I might not know how it feels to be a woman, but I do know about horrible boyfriends. Even my husband has been known to be… mildly irritating on occasion. And don’t even get me started on how annoying my husband’s husband can be (just to be clear, that is me, there is no bigamist ménage à trois, except in my imagination sometimes. But let’s not go into that).

BLONDE THE MUSICAL (Derby Live/Kristian Thomas Productions)**

 

 By Emma

Link: https://www.livetickets.org/whats-on/blonde-the-musical

Available until: 16th May 2021 on demand

I feel really mean about the two stars. I think this musical could be really good but it feels like a work in progress. I feel like I can see what the musical is trying to achieve but it’s not quite achieving it? But I think it could achieve it. It’s only an hour and a half including the interval so there’s lots of space to develop it further and show the characters and the story in more detail and make it really good.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

THE TEXT (Actor Monologues by Philip Pugh)****

 

 by Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vR_sDH2QaZw

Available until: Unknown

Another great monologue from Philip Pugh in his Actor Monologues series. Very different in style and character from the first one but that just shows how versatile a writer he is.

Patrick has had some bad news at the worst possible time. I won’t go into details, he can tell you that much better himself but he has good reason not to be thrilled about it.

SPRING AWAKENING (Factory Playhouse/Emil Dale Academy/Stream Theatre)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/105 

Available until: This cast, the ‘Spring’ cast, will also appear in the performance on Friday 7th May at 7pm. The ‘Summer’ cast will perform on Thursday 8th and Saturday 10th May at 7pm.

Trigger Warnings: Sexual content, sexual violence, domestic abuse, topics of abortion, death and suicide. There is no age recommendation, but I am 15 and I would say I’m only just old enough, but I am quite innocent so maybe it is a 12A. If you are wondering if your child should watch this musical, or if you’re wondering yourself it might be too upsetting to be enjoyable, there is a very good synopsis on Wikipedia.

Spring Awakening is a sad and devastating but beautiful story about a group of young people who are growing up. It is based on a German play, Frühlings Erwachen, which was written in 1891 by Frank Wedekind.

ROOTLESS ISLAND BABY (Nottingham Playhouse)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/events/rootless-island-baby-on-demand

Available until: Friday 28th May

It’s very easy to blame the social workers.

From my own experience of the care system and adoption, and from experiences of people I know who have been let down by social workers, it is clear that their work is not always of an acceptable standard. There are the ones who promise everything you need and then don’t deliver it – it’s hard to describe that feeling of believing someone is finally listening to you and has finally seen you as a person and not just another case file, only for this feeling to be snatched away when they claim the conversation you clearly remember didn’t happen.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

THE HELPLINE (Coronavirus Theatre Club)***

  

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdYJpVM3Grg

Available until: Unknown

I can’t say what makes The Helpline a clever monologue because that would give the whole game away. But take it from me, it’s clever.

A man is calling what seems to be some sort of sex line. His wife doesn’t know. He’s even got a new phone so it won’t show up on the phone bill. There’s a girl working there called Roxy and he really likes her a lot. No other girl will do. He’s getting desperate now. It seems almost like an obsession.

THE RED SHOES (New Adventures/Sadler’s Wells/iPlayer)****

 

By Imogen

Link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000qry2 

Available until: 16th May 2021

Sir Matthew Bourne is one of the greatest ballet choreographers and directors alive today. He has adapted many well-known stories, some ballet some not, like The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Carmen (as The Car Man) and most famously of all Swan Lake to give them a more modern twist and greater relevance to the 21st century.

AMONG THE FLOWERS (Royal Opera)**

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.instagram.com/tv/COSUCT2jw0X 

Available until: 30th May 2021

It is important for opera companies to try to reach out to new audiences. While there are young people like me and some of my siblings who genuinely enjoy opera and have even, in some cases, either sung arias or even appeared in an opera, young opera fans do seem to be few and far between.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

THE NEIGHBOURS (Penny Dreadfuls from the Moth Sanctuary)****

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DTO8eDMYf8 

Available until: Unknown

The Neighbours is the third in Moth Sanctuary Productions’ series of Penny Dreadfuls, a set of spooky short stories written by Andrew Bate and Chloe Gorman. This is the first in the set that’s written by Chloe.

If you thought your neighbours were bad, they might seem quite human after you listen to this story.

THE WEIR (Irish Repertory Theatre/Stream Theatre)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/101 

Available until: 9th May on demand

The Weir is the latest in the series of plays made available on Stream Theatre by the Irish Repertory Company – and it’s another really great production. Conor McPherson isn’t as big a name as Samuel Beckett or Eugene O’Neill, but he’s still a great playwright and arguably a more accessible one.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (Roundabout Theatre Company/LA Theatre Works/Theater Mania)*****

 

By Louise

Link: https://www.theatermania.stream/products/the-importance-of-being-earnest

Available until: Unknown

The Importance of Being Earnest is one of my very favourite plays and this production is perfect. If you enjoyed the recent modern production at the Lawrence Batley Theatre and you would like to see the play it was based on, or if you already love the play and would like to see it again, you might really enjoy this performance. (You could also watch SupportBritish’s production on YouTube. We haven’t watched it yet as we were a bit scared Roundabout Theatre Company’s production might be taken down before we could see it, but SupportBritish’s plays are always of a really high standard and the actors are so lovely and I am really looking forward to watching their Importance of Being Earnest in the future.)

Monday, May 3, 2021

THE RIPPLE EFFECT (Actor Monologues by Philip Pugh)****

 

By Emma

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUZ0XJnQ17s

Available until: Unknown

Content warning: (not a real spoiler, it’s in the video description) mentions of suicide

We have been retweeting Philip Pugh’s Actor Monologues for a while but this is the first time we are reviewing one. It won’t be the last. This is really good and I hope we’ll review them all eventually.

Amanda is talking about something terrible she witnessed when she was at a train station. Quite a bit of time has passed since then but it’s still affecting her. She thinks about it every day and it has changed her. It’s changed her feelings, her thoughts and her behaviour. Amanda was probably always a caring person but this incident has opened her eyes to how much some people really do suffer.

GHOST STORIES WITH MARK GATISS (Nottingham Playhouse)***

   

By Dave

Link: https://nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/watch-ghost-stories-on-demand

Available until: 17th June 2021. You can watch on demand at any time and the rental period is five days.

Mark Gatiss and Adrian Scarborough were both excellent in the National Theatre’s production of Alan Bennett’s The Madness of George III, which was streamed for free on YouTube by the National Theatre earlier in the pandemic.

DISTANCE REMAINING (Helen Milne Productions)****

 

By Cal

Link: https://distanceremaining.com/categories/upcoming-online-performances

Available until: Shows at 7.30pm on Wednesday 5th, Thursday 6th, Friday 7th and Saturday 8th May at 7.30pm and on Sunday 9th at 2.30pm. Available for 48 hours from the time your performance goes live.

Age guidance: 14+ (strong language)

Distance Remaining is about three people. They all have a distance they need to travel. It’s physical and it’s psychological. They want to get there, but it’s not easy – and perhaps they can’t do it alone.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

SMILE (Rep Studios/Dundee Rep)****

 

By Angel

Link: https://dundeerep.co.uk/whats-on/smile 

Available until: Sunday 2nd May-Sunday 9th May and Wednesday 12th May-Sunday 16th May at 7pm. Matinées on Thursdays and Saturdays at 2.30pm.

Content warning: There’s a bit of swearing but nothing I don’t hear every day at school

Jim McLean was the manager of Dundee United Football Club between 1971 and 1993. He never played for the club – he actually spent three years at their very local rivals Dundee who are literally just down the road – but he was appointed manager not long after finishing his playing career at Kilmarnock. McLean was an inside forward (that’s like a second striker who plays in the hole except there were two inside forwards) who began his career at Hamilton Academical and also played for Clyde.

IN ITS MAJESTY (Crew of Patches)****

By Jack

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Wc-yrjA43Y 

Available until: Unknown

After their brilliant Zoom play about the Mechanicals in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bottom is seriously the best character in Shakespeare, I haven’t seen all the plays but I know people who have and they’re not arguing) Crew of Patches are back with another hilarious comedy about robbers.

ROCKY ROAD (Panorama Productions/Jermyn Street Theatre/Stream Theatre)***

 

By Cal

Link: https://www.stream.theatre/season/103

Available until: Monday 10th May-Saturday 30th May at 7.30pm. Matinées on Saturdays and Sundays at 3pm.

Rocky Road is named after a type of cake. There’s a character in this play who makes cakes and it’s fair to say they’re definitely on a rocky road so it really is a brilliant title. Of course, most people have been baking cakes through lockdown and watching Bake-Off so you probably know all this already, but it’s a new one for me.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

TARANTULA (Aria Entertainment/Southwark Playhouse)****


By Cal

Link: https://www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show-homepage/tarantula

Available until: Livestreams on 3.15pm and 7.45pm on Saturday 1st May. Although advertised as livestreams, they are available for a few hours after the event. A lot of Southwark Playhouse shows are made available on demand after the event so if you do read this after Saturday, it might be worth checking the Southwark Playhouse and Stream Theatre sites to see if it has been made available, but don’t just assume that will be the case – grab the opportunity to see it now if you can.

Philip Ridley has kept us all brilliantly-entertained throughout lockdown, first with his The Beast Will Rise series and then with The Poltergeist, which was so good, I watched it twice – and there isn’t a lot of room in my online theatre schedule to watch things twice. Not forgetting the small matter of university taking up my time.

BEING MR WICKHAM (Original Theatre Online/Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds)*****

 

By Megan

Link to 3pm show on May 1st: https://originaltheatreonline.com/productions/23/being-mr-wickham-live-streaming-saturday-1-may-at-3pm-bst

Link to 7.30pm show on May 1st: https://originaltheatreonline.com/productions/24/being-mr-wickham-live-streaming-saturday-1-may-at-730pm-bst

Link to captioned 7.30pm show on May 1st: https://originaltheatreonline.com/productions/25/being-mr-wickham-live-streaming-saturday-1-may-at-730pm-captioned-bst 

Available until: This show can only be watched live at the above times. There will be a different Q&A after every show.

Being Mr Wickham was inspired by a very popular TV series of Pride and Prejudice which was first on TV in 1995. It was Colin Firth who played Mr Darcy who got most of the attention but most people agreed it was a very good series.

LOVE AND INFORMATION (Silk Street Theatre/Guildhall School of Music and Drama)***

 

By Dave

Link: https://www.gsmd.ac.uk/summer_2021/love_and_information 

Available until: Livestreams on Saturday 1st May at 7.30pm.

Love and Information seemed like a bit of an odd title when I first heard about it but after watching the show, I think it not only describes the show perfectly, it’s a pretty good description of life too.

Of course life isn’t just about love and information but it does play a much bigger role than I realised. We go through life sharing information with other people. Sometimes they want the information, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes you tell them too little and sometimes you tell them too much. Sometimes they understand what you’re saying and sometimes they don’t. We give the information in whatever way seems like the right way and the reaction we get very often does depend on love, whether that’s how much they love us or how much they love whoever or whatever we’re talking about.

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...