Theatres in the Dark: Here’s How You Can Support Your Local Playhouse

When theatres fell dark on Monday 16 March 2020, few could have imagined that nearly four months later their doors would remain closed. Their auditoriums decidedly empty and their stages eerily quiet. While lockdown has meant we’ve been able to enjoy award-winning productions streamed directly to our homes, performers, technicians and audiences alike are now eagerly anticipating a return to normality, itching for theatres to raise their curtains once more. Continue reading Theatres in the Dark: Here’s How You Can Support Your Local Playhouse

Review: Sea Wall

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Simon Stephens’ Sea Wall is raw and devastating. This one-man play begins lightly, Alex (Andrew Scott) chatting amiably about his father-in-law, holidays in the South of France, and his deep affection for his wife and daughter. Yet, strung through this narrative is a tension that tightens as the story unfolds. The audience are constantly on edge, watching as Alex circles closer and closer to the painful story aching at the play’s centre. Continue reading Review: Sea Wall

Review: National Theatre at Home: Frankenstein

A collection of 3,500 light bulbs hang above the audience, flashing all at once, as electronic static buzzes persistently. A spherical, beige screen – veiny, alien, womb-like – stands alone on the stage, until suddenly a hand bursts through it. Even for a virtual viewer, there is a sensory overload of light and sound as the Creature falls hard on the floor. It convulses and squirms, wet and barely conscious, twitching like a fish out of water. In silence, we watch it attempt to move, adjusting to its limbs as if paralysed. Continue reading Review: National Theatre at Home: Frankenstein

Review: National Theatre at Home: Twelfth Night

From director Simon Godwin comes a colourful, chaotic frenzy of a Twelfth Night that is choc-a-bloc with laughs, love, music and anguish. As part of the National Theatre at Home’s free YouTube streaming of shows, this week we are treated to Godwin’s vision of the foolish antics of Shakespeare’s tortured misfits and loveable rogues.

If you aren’t familiar with Twelfth Night, it is a classic Shakespeare comedy about mistaken identity. Sebastian and Viola are shipwrecked on the island of Illyria, and Viola assumes her brother’s identity, thinking he is dead. However, things don’t go smoothly for her when she gets caught in a love triangle with the Duke Orsino and Olivia, doting on him while Olivia dotes as much on her. Continue reading Review: National Theatre at Home: Twelfth Night

Review: National Theatre at Home: Jane Eyre

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Jane Eyre seeks to enhance the progressive, feminist quality of Charlotte Bronte’s writing. Through physical theatre, evocative music and a fiery protagonist, this play strives to shift this classic love story into a bildungsroman. While slightly encumbered by its three-hour length and a depth of source material to untangle, this adaptation undeniably succeeds in bringing something new to well-trodden territory. Continue reading Review: National Theatre at Home: Jane Eyre

Review: National Theatre at Home:One Man, Two Guvnors

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

One of the many restrictions that fell into place as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown was the closure of theatres. The National Theatre, however, became one of the first of a growing number of theatres attempting to allow the show to go on, by publishing recordings of their most popular shows online for free. As part of weekly digital showings, last Thursday 2 April, Richard Bean’s acclaimed One Man, Two Guvnors kicked off proceedings to the delight of theatre fanatics worldwide. Continue reading Review: National Theatre at Home:One Man, Two Guvnors

Review: Family on Screen: The Wind in the Willows

Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars

To provide some escapism and light relief from the prevailing news reports surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic, the producers of the West End 2017 production of The Wind in the Willows are streaming the show online for free. Whilst I appreciate the attempt to bring the magic of theatre to the comfort of one’s home, this production with its bumpy and dull storyline and unlikeable, arrogant protagonist, partnered with buffering Wi-Fi, leaves something to be desired.  Continue reading Review: Family on Screen: The Wind in the Willows

Review: Night of the Living Dead: Remix

The Night of the Living Dead is often perceived as one of the best horror films in history. It follows the tale of seven strangers trapped in a house in Pennsylvania who must attempt to separate their differences and survive a distressing zombie apocalypse. On Tuesday March 25th I had the opportunity to watch Imitating The Dog’s Night of the Living Dead: Remix (directed by Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks) at the Northcott Theatre, and I went into the performance completely blind, having seen no trailers for it. Continue reading Review: Night of the Living Dead: Remix

Review: Exeter University Shakespeare Company’s King Lear

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

King Lear is fundamentally a play about intragenerational power struggles, and Exeter University Shakespeare Company’s powerful performance, directed by Megan Shepherd and Matt Smith, explores the intricacies of jealousy, love and madness in a remarkably insightful way. The close environment of the cathedral setting allows the audience to take on the role of Lear’s court, almost becoming part of the painful deterioration of the kingdom. Continue reading Review: Exeter University Shakespeare Company’s King Lear