tue 04/08/2020

Theatre Unlocked 2: A starry premiere and musical revival alongside Greek tragedy where it began | reviews, news & interviews

Theatre Unlocked 2: A starry premiere and musical revival alongside Greek tragedy where it began

Theatre Unlocked 2: A starry premiere and musical revival alongside Greek tragedy where it began

Empty playhouses caught on camera and an online 'Merchant' complete a typically varied week of theatrical fare

Quartet: Cedric Neal (left) and the cast of 'Songs for a New World' Lambert Jackson

Theatres will begin gently unlocking their doors as we head into August. In the meantime, a beleaguered community continues to find fresh and startling ways to sustain interest and excitement, whether that be the premiere of a new play starring Andrew Scott at the Old Vic or a pictorial tour round long-shuttered playhouses from the photographer Helen Murray. The American composer Jason Robert Brown is back on view yet again, this time with a revival of his earliest show as performed by a high-voltage musical theatre cast, and one of the most celebrated theatres in the world livestreams a show for the first time ever. For more on these enticements, read on.

The Merchant of Venice, BBC iPlayer 

Makram J Khoury as Shylock Well before Patsy Ferran was a 2019 Olivier Award-winner for her career-making performance in Summer and Smoke, she could be found at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford playing Portia in their 2015 production of The Merchant of Venice.

Polly Findlay’s production is on BBC iPlayer now for a month as part of the Culture in Quarantine: Shakespeare series. It allows a chance not just to see the fast-rising Ferran comparatively early in her career but also the Arab-Israeli actor Makram J Khoury (pictured right) as Shylock and an especially acclaimed Antonio (the merchant of the title) from Jamie Ballard, who went on to play the title role in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Our Empty Theatres, photography exhibition online 

As proof that theatre may have been silenced but has in no way been forgotten, along comes Our Empty Theatres, in which theatre photographer Helen Murray snaps 22 theatre spaces up and down the country that have been rendered inoperative by the pandemic. The venues range from the Liverpool Everyman to the Lyric Hammersmith, the Almeida to the Albany in Deptford. 

Available to view in full on Murray's website, the series stands as a record of an never-to-be-forgotten period of closure as we look forward increasingly to the doors swinging back open once again. 

Songs for a New World, The Other Palace Digital

American composer Jason Robert Brown’s musical two-hander The Last Five Years has been everywhere of late, performed both live in March at Southwark Playhouse and subsequently streamed during lockdown in a virtual production courtesy of The Other Palace.

The Other Palace returns this week with a new iteration of the Tony-winner’s earlier show Songs for a New World, an invigorating song cycle that debuted Off Broadway in 1995. Directed by Séimí Campbell, this latest (ticketed) iteration is available for three nights on The Other Palace website and boasts a blue-chip musical theatre cast consisting of longtime Phantom and erstwhile Tony nominee (for Les Mis) Ramin Karimloo (pictured below), Motown the Musical's Cedric Neal, Hamilton's Rachel John, and 2019 Olivier Award nominee (for Come From Away) Rachel Tucker. 

Streaming July 23-25, 7 30 pm. 

Ramin Karimloo in 'Songs for a New World' The Persians, Epidaurus / Greece 

Here's a livestreamed prospect with a difference. The National Theatre of Greece will be broadcasting from that country's celebrated Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus a production of Aeschylus's The Persians, the earliest Greek drama to have survived to the modern era. This marks the first production to be streamed live from a theatrical site considered amongst the most beautiful in the world. 

Dimitris Lignadis is the director and the 90-minute performance will be freely available worldwide - except in Greece. 

Streaming July 25, 9 pm Greek time. 

Three Kings, Old Vic: In Camera 

The playwright Stephen Beresford by rights should have been represented this spring with his new play The Southbury Child at the Bridge Theatre. Instead, Beresford has come through with a play, Three Kings, written for Andrew Scott that will livestream for five performances directly from the Old Vic stage; Matthew Warchus, who runs the Old Vic, is the director and will here be reprising an association with Scott following the actor's prize-winning turn at this same address last summer in Noel Coward's Present Laughter

The final performance August 1 will be followed by a q-and-a between Scott and the broadcaster Dermot O'Leary that is ticketed separately. 

Streaming July 29 - Aug 1, 7 30 pm. 

 

 

 

 

 

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