The National Theatre, in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, has today launched National Theatre at Home, a brand-new streaming platform making their much-loved productions available online to watch anytime, anywhere worldwide.
Launching today with productions including the first ever National Theatre Live, Phèdre with Helen Mirren, Othello with Adrian Lester and the Young Vic’s Yerma with Billie Piper, new titles from the NT’s unrivalled catalogue of filmed theatre will be added to the platform every month.
In addition to productions previously broadcast to cinemas by National Theatre Live, a selection of plays filmed for the NT’s Archive will be released online for the first time through National Theatre at Home, including Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes with Olivia Colman and Inua Ellams’ new version of Chekhov’s Three Sisters (a co-production with Fuel). Continue reading “News: NT launches new streaming service National Theatre at Home”
“I choose to take back my life.
Booking a return trip to anything Helen McCrory is starring in is something of a reflex action now but I was more pleased than usual to be able to revisit Medea as conversations with numerous of my friends who were not fans had left me questioning whether I had maybe over-rated the show on first viewing. And it was equally nice to find out that I had not. I can see why elements of Carrie Cracknell’s production might have been polarising but for me, the synergy between the different disciplines is alchemical.
From jerky dancing to Goldfrappian swells of music, luxury cameos through to an actor magisterially making her mark on an oft-played role to dominate the vast auditorium of the Olivier, it’s a Medeafor our time and so it was entirely correct that this performance should be part of the NTLive programme and be broadcast to cinemas across the world. Spine-chillingly remarkable stuff and that’s all I really have to say!
Running time: 100 minutes (without interval)
Photo: Richard Hubert Smith
Booking until 4th September
““Terrible things breed in broken hearts”
Euripides’ Medea has long been considered one of the greatest roles for a woman to play so it is a little surprising (or perhaps not) that it hasn’t been performed at the National Theatre before. But the winds of change blow even on the South Bank so it makes great sense that one of our finest living actresses, Helen McCrory, should take on the part in a production by Carrie Cracknell, herself responsible for making some of that change with recent shows like A Doll’s House and Blurred Lines.
Ben Power’s new version relocates the betrayed Medea in a blasted contemporary setting (another ingeniously cracking design from Tom Scutt, evocatively lit by Lucy Carter) where she and her two children anxiously await news of the husband and father who has abandoned them for a newly politically expedient marriage. Trapped in a foreign land, having severely burned her bridges with her homeland, we watch helplessly along with a hefty Greek Chorus as grief inexorably transmutes into anger. Continue reading “Review: Medea, National Theatre”
“I share no-one’s ideas, I have my own”
Another day, another tale of people languishing in the dying embers of Imperial Russia, but Fathers and Sons – Brian Friel’s 1987 adaptation of Ivan Turgenev’s 1862 novel – has something special about it, which makes it truly stand out from the crowd. Much of this has to do with Lyndsey Turner’s sterling production for the Donmar, her gift for marshalling large ensembles to the absolute best of their abilities coming to the fore once again and smoothing over any potential weaknesses in the play itself.
Pace sometimes flags, with narrative description dominating a little too much in the second act and too many characters for them to all to really register. But such caveats pale in the face of performances like these – Joshua James’ would-be revolutionary Arkady and Anthony Calf as his hapless father, Seth Numrich’s more radical Bazarov and his own father played beautifully by Karl Johnson, Susan Engel’s vividly drawn Princess, Tim McMullan’s hilarious fop of an uncle, it’s an embarrassment of riches.
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 26th July
“I’m afraid they’re going to have to get used to not having me around quite so often any more”
Not a huge amount to say about a return visit to this excellent Ibsen adaptation which I first saw back in July last year – since then, A Doll’s House has won multiple awards, mainly for its leading star Hattie Morahan, returned to the Young Vic for a repeat run, moved into the West End for a further extension and announced a transfer to Broadway, not a bad piece of work really. I loved it first time round, against all expectations, and wasn’t intending to revisit but the canny pricing of the transfer meant tickets in the front rows were a bargainous £10 and so I booked for the end of the London run.
And I enjoyed it more or less just as much as last time. Being able to revisit a show, especially a play, after more than a year is a rare pleasure indeed but it was one that paid dividends as Carrie Cracknell’s production continued to deliver its excellently compelling take on the Helmers’ marriage. Though still set closer to Ibsen’s time than ours, Morahan and Dominic Rowan make Nora and Torvald into living, breathing people with the flaws that we all carry in one way or another and deserving of our empathy, if not necessarily our sympathy, as Nora finds the strength to take on society and pursue her own radical destiny. New York should embrace this production with open arms.
Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes (with interval)
Booking until 26th October