Review: 4**** Treasure Island – The National Theatre at Home via YouTube @PatsyFerran @NTLive #NationalTheatreAtHome #TreasureIsland #cultureduringquarantine

Tweetingit: 4* A one-legged man with a parrot on his shoulder looking for treasure never fails to grip the imagination. A classic story refreshed and rebooted for the London stage.

For a novel first published in 1883 Treasure Island remains an enduring classic.  No less than nineteen film and TV adaptations have been made including animated features and a memorable Muppet movie. The story’s appeal lies in the spirit of adventure and promise of untold riches, fighting with pirates and stealing away hidden treasure. We played this story out in our minds as children and this excellent production recreates the magic once again.

Old sailor Billy Bones (Aidan Kelly) takes up lodging at the Admiral Benbow Inn on the English coast. Innkeeper’s child Jim Hawkins (Patsy Ferran) learns of a one-legged seafaring man while Bones fights with old shipmate Black Dog (Daniel Coonan). A blind beggar called Pew (David Stern) later tempts Bones with the promise of a map showing buried treasure. However, Bones dies of a stroke shortly afterwards as Pew and cronies lay siege to the Inn. Hawkins and her mother escape with a package taken from Bones’ belongings. The package contains a map of an island where infamous pirate Captain Flint had hidden treasure. With the help of Dr Livesey (Alexandra Maher) and squire Trelawney (Nick Fletcher) they raise an expedition to the island. Their appointed crew includes the mysterious Long John Silver (Arthur Darvill), a man with history and more than a passing interest in the booty.

Continue reading “Review: 4**** Treasure Island – The National Theatre at Home via YouTube @PatsyFerran @NTLive #NationalTheatreAtHome #TreasureIsland #cultureduringquarantine”

Review: 3*** East – The Vaudeville Theatre @digitaltheatre @VaudevilleTh #cultureduringquarantine #stevenberkoff

Tweetingit: 3* A smartly scripted verse play from the cultured pen of Stephen Berkoff is a hit and miss affair but still generates a distinctive aura of time and place.

Stephen Berkoff made his name as a villain in numerous film roles where he grappled with James Bond and Rambo among many others. He even mastered Adolph Hitler in TV blockbuster War and Remembrance. However, Berkoff’s spiritual home is the theatre where his skills as a playwright were honed. East was first performed in 1975 and this is the 25th-anniversary production captured live at the Vaudeville Theatre in London.

The play is an occasionally witty and frequently explicit portrayal of life in London’s East End. The anatomy of a rowdy working class family is explored in a series of vignettes – love, romance, family and friendship are all recurring themes battling for centre stage. Mike (Christopher Middleton) and Les (Matthew Cullum) are two likely lads competing for the affections of flirtatious Sylv (Tanya Franks). Mum and Dad (Edward Bryant and Jonathan Lindsey) survey the unfolding chaos and reminisce about the good old days.

Continue reading “Review: 3*** East – The Vaudeville Theatre @digitaltheatre @VaudevilleTh #cultureduringquarantine #stevenberkoff”

News: Secret Cinema launches Secret Sofa – immersive cinematic experiences at home. @haagendazsuk @secretcinema #secretcinema #staycreative #immersivetheatre

Do you enjoy luxury and decadence? Are you Rich, old, insecure, vain, superficial, needy and liberally perfumed? Well The Grand Budapest Hotel is the place for you, and this Friday you get to escape lockdown and head there with many 1000s of other new clientele.

This might be one of the most exciting things I have seen for a while!

Secret Cinema, have been helping fans since 2008 to immerse themselves in their favourite imaginary worlds for real. Stranger Things, Dirty Dancing, Back to the Future, Blade Runner and many more have been tackled by them so far and now they are creating a weekly Secret Sofa for us to enjoy from our homes. 

It is time to escape this madness and join 1000s of other households (potentially from all over the world) and immerse ourselves in the Secret Sofa world. 

Continue reading “News: Secret Cinema launches Secret Sofa – immersive cinematic experiences at home. @haagendazsuk @secretcinema #secretcinema #staycreative #immersivetheatre”

Review: 5**** Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert – The 02 Arena, London via @SkyArts #CultureinQuarantine @AlfieBoe @MsLeaSalonga @realmattlucas

Tweetingit: 5* Victor Hugo’s sprawling epic seamlessly transfers from stage to the stadium rock atmosphere of London’s 02 Arena. A perfect production showcasing rare genius.

Once upon a time I acquired the hardback version of Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Needless to say 1,232 pages stayed in pristine condition as I contrived excuses not to read it. Hugo’s masterpiece had so many alternative uses – mine was primarily a doorstop before its convenient loss during a house move. Any literary guilt was assuaged by the brilliant stage version that first graced the London stage in 1985. My own twisted logic dictated that I no longer needed to read the book. It is after all a brilliantly distilled version of the novel that marries narrative with beautifully constructed songs.

This film made in 2010 marked the 25th anniversary of the show’s first production at the Barbican. The transfer from theatre to the stadium like 02 Arena might at first present a challenge. However, Les Mis easily fills the 20,000 capacity venue as the songs grow bigger and better. Two giant screens flank a full orchestra and huge choir stretching across the stage.  Sets are stripped away as cast members take the stage in authentic 19th Century costume. The unique atmosphere was obvious even on the small screen and one could sense the film captured a very special night.

Continue reading “Review: 5**** Les Miserables 25th Anniversary Concert – The 02 Arena, London via @SkyArts #CultureinQuarantine @AlfieBoe @MsLeaSalonga @realmattlucas”

Seeing the positives – the things I hope theatre will take from lockdown! #staycreative #cultureinquarantine @HIT_CPH #theshowmustgoonline @robmyles

Ok, so before I begin this, there is no questions that this C-19 and lockdown is horrendous for the arts and for actors, musicians, theatre makers and so on. BUT I want to try and think of some positives so that is what this is about.

I have been speaking to a lot of people recently about how “this” will all affect things in the future. These have included how will it effect the way we work – will we all work from home more? How will it affect the views on home schooling?  But the one which is the most interesting from our point of view is how will we consume culture and make theatre in the future? I guess much of this is being considered with the view that we might be in lock down for a while longer. But what about after that? How will, this affect theatre long term?

The new normal for theatre?

The other reason I began thinking about this is because last week I attended a fabulous reading of a play, Night of the Living by Dave Lankford, performed by House of International Theatre (HIT)

Afterwards there was a Q&A to get the audience talking about how it worked, how it could be developed for the future and what would make the experience of theatre in this format better. 

Continue reading “Seeing the positives – the things I hope theatre will take from lockdown! #staycreative #cultureinquarantine @HIT_CPH #theshowmustgoonline @robmyles”

Review: 3*** Antony and Cleopatra – RSC at Stratford-Upon-Avon @MarqueeArtsTV @TheRSC #staycreative

Tweetingit: 3* A well-drilled, highly talented cast go through the numbers and deliver a slick production. But this feels like an overly sterile approach to an infrequently staged play.

Well three hours four minutes and thirty five seconds is a bit of a stretch even for a battle hardened theatre goer like me. But I was undaunted by the marathon that is Antony and Cleopatra. Watching online is a less onerous prospect as it can be split into bite sized viewing portions.

Even so, a highly efficient production by the RSC at Stratford-Upon-Avon is still heavy going. There is a slavish commitment to detail that adds little to the narrative and sails dangerously close to self-indulgence. Tony and Cleo is essentially a love job hovering between tragedy and history – a tale supercharged by the greatest power brokers of the ancient world.

Continue reading “Review: 3*** Antony and Cleopatra – RSC at Stratford-Upon-Avon @MarqueeArtsTV @TheRSC #staycreative”

More places to stream shows this Easter Sunday (and beyond) #CultureInQuarantine #staycreative

And the shows available for you to stream just keep rolling in.

One of the only positives I can see about this whole thing right now is that people who might not usually get the opportunity to go to the theatre (too far away, too expensive) have the chance to see some of the best shows around.

So here are the next batch for your enjoyment. 

We will of course get reviewing as many as we can. 

Continue reading “More places to stream shows this Easter Sunday (and beyond) #CultureInQuarantine #staycreative”

Review: 5***** Cirque Du Solei 60 minute special 27th March 2020 #cirqueconnect @Cirque #staycreative #CultureInQuarantine

There are now many plays and musicals being streamed access the internet but sometimes we all need a bit of variety. You need something you can just watch and enjoy, something where you do not have to follow a complicated story, or get heavily invested in the lives of the characters on stage only for them to die, be heartbroken or something else tragic. So, I propose to you that at times like these, when we are anxious about the outside world and fed up being stuck indoors, there is simply nothing better than watching people performing incredible death defying acrobatic feats on, for example, a giant floating ships high above an enormous swimming pool!

Cue Cirque Du Solei with their 60 minute special!

Continue reading “Review: 5***** Cirque Du Solei 60 minute special 27th March 2020 #cirqueconnect @Cirque #staycreative #CultureInQuarantine”

Review: 4**** Funny Girl – The Palace Theatre, Manchester @digitaltheatre and @SkyArts @Sheridansmith1 #staycreative #CultureInQuarantine

Tweetingit: 4* A hugely entertaining production of a Broadway classic based on the life of performer Fanny Brice.

Funny Girl is synonymous with Barbra Streisand and her portrayal of Fanny Brice both on stage and film; the latter won her an Academy Award for Best Actress in a leading role. It turned Streisand into a global superstar and set the bar for all performers who contemplated filling her shoes. It seems barely credible the musical disappeared from the West End stage for nearly 50 years. It wasn’t until 2016 that it returned to London at the Savoy Theatre before embarking on a highly successful national tour.

The story begins with Fanny (Sheridan Smith) wistfully looking back on her life. The ever trusty flashback clicks into action, and we are back in Vaudeville with a teenage Fanny trying to prove herself. Her mother (Rachel Izen) and friend Mrs Strakosh (Myra Sands) wonder if Fanny is too plain to make it as a stage performer. However, Fanny is undaunted and succeeds with the help of dancer Eddie Ryan (Joshua Lay). She makes a name for herself as a performer and meets handsome entrepreneur Nick Arnstein (Darius Campbell). They inevitably fall in love as the trials and tribulations of their relationship are carefully plotted.

Continue reading “Review: 4**** Funny Girl – The Palace Theatre, Manchester @digitaltheatre and @SkyArts @Sheridansmith1 #staycreative #CultureInQuarantine”

News: The Barn Theatre streaming Henry V on 27th March at 6pm #staycreative #CultureDuringQuarantine #WorldTheatreDay, @aaronsidwell @Laurensamuels88 #saveourbarn #HenryV

The Barn Theatre have announced plans to live stream their critically acclaimed production of William Shakespeare’s Henry V on World Theatre Day (27 March).
The production, which stars Aaron Sidwell (Wicked, American Idiot, Loserville, Ghost,
EastEnders) and Lauren Samuels (Bend It Like Beckham, Romantics Anonymous, We Will Rock You, Grease, Water Babies, Over The Rainbow), will be streamed live to the theatre’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter accounts on Friday 27th March at 6pm.


Henry V, which was called “a populist Hal for a post-Brexit world” by Dominic Cavendish from The Telegraph, is directed by Hal Chambers, with designs by Emily Leonard, fight direction by Christos Dante, movement direction by Kate Webster, composition by Harry Smith, BroadwayWorld UK award-nominated projection designs by Benjamin Collins, sound design by Chris Cleal and lighting by Sam Rowcliffe-Tanner.

Since launching in 2018, the Barn Theatre has gained national recognition by producing 12 Built By Barn shows to upwards of 80,000 audience members and being awarded The Stage Awards’ Best Fringe Theatre of the Year Award 2019. Their contribution to the local community stretches further than just the theatre with large scale outreach programmes, school workshops and collaborative projects around the centenary of the First World War, the ‘record-breaking’ Cirencester Human Poppy, and The Cirencester Advent Festival that have enhanced the well-being of the community and draw thousands of visitors to the town.

Continue reading “News: The Barn Theatre streaming Henry V on 27th March at 6pm #staycreative #CultureDuringQuarantine #WorldTheatreDay, @aaronsidwell @Laurensamuels88 #saveourbarn #HenryV”
%d bloggers like this: