Yo ho ho, it’s full steam ahead! From Treasure Island to Phantom of the Opera, PATRICK MARMION takes you through some stage show gems to watch in your living room
(National Theatre at Home, YouTube)
Verdict: Theatrical gold waiting to be discovered
The Phantom Of The Opera
(The Shows Must Go On, YouTube)
Verdict: Still as lush as you like
Flowers For Mrs Harris
(Chichester Festival Theatre, cft.org.uk)
Verdict: A lovely bunch of characters
When this is all over . . . is a phrase we’re hearing often at the moment. But let me just say, when this is all over . . . I reckon there’s treasure to be found in this online malarkey for theatre’s financial gold-diggers.
I’ll warrant that producers are starting to twig they’ve been missing a trick by not recording shows and streaming them to a global audience. I, for one, am finding this kind of fare increasingly satisfying — even if it’ll never replace the live experience.
The best recordings do, of course, cost a pretty penny to make. But when they’re as good as NT Live’s recording of their 2014 production of Robert Louis Stevenson’s seafaring adventure, they look great on telly.
My ten-year-old daughter… sat gripped throughout Polly Findlay’s swashbuckling production
There are terrific special-effects, including a severed hand with wriggling fingers
My ten-year-old daughter, who demands top-of-the-range CGI animation, sat gripped throughout Polly Findlay’s swashbuckling production.
She was particularly taken by Lizzie Clachan’s set design (that actually won a round of applause from the audience).
The staging takes us from a murky Bristol ale house, to a breathtakingly fitted Hispaniola and then a craggy desert island, with strange exotic groundcover that appears to pulsate.
That’s not all! There are terrific special-effects, including a severed hand with wriggling fingers.
And at times, Dan Jones’s lusty music makes you think you’re watching a Spielberg adventure.
But lest I get carried away, Lavery’s gender-fluid adaptation is best admired for its characters.
Lavery’s gender-fluid adaptation is best admired for its characters
The staging takes us from a murky Bristol ale house, to a breathtakingly fitted Hispaniola and then a craggy desert island
Patsy Ferran is a bug-eyed innocent as heroine-narrator Jemima (‘Jim’) Hawkins, while Arthur Darvill makes for a silky-tongued scoundrel as Long John Silver.
As for his parrot . . . even my seen-it-all, got-the-merchandising 15-year-old had to ask if it was real.
I’ll leave that for you to decide, but let’s just say it would take a lot of training to get a bird to twitch and talk like that on cue.
For sheer indulgence it’s still pretty hard to beat Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera.
The 25th anniversary production, staged at the Albert Hall in 2011, has been set free to stream for 24 hours from 7pm tonight on the good Lord’s lockdown website The Shows Must Go On — but you can also watch it any time on YouTube from £2.49.
For sheer indulgence it’s still pretty hard to beat Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom Of The Opera
The 25th anniversary production, staged at the Albert Hall in 2011, has been set free to stream for 24 hours from 7pm tonight on the good Lord’s lockdown website The Shows Must Go On
No expense is spared, with projections of the Paris opera house’s audience and stage hydraulics recreating the balconies of the haunted theatre
Nor will it disappoint. This is a show dripping in colour, with costumes in the great masquerade scene that are as saucy as they are sumptuous.
No expense is spared, with projections of the Paris opera house’s audience and stage hydraulics recreating the balconies of the haunted theatre.
Hadley Fraser is effortlessly smooth as Raoul, and Ramin Karimloo boils with passion as his hideous rival the Phantom.
But Sierra Boggess steals the limelight as Lloyd Webber’s honey-voiced heroine, Christine.
And there’s even a bonus appearance at the end from Michael Crawford, Sarah Brightman and the rest of the original London cast.
While it may not have the bells and whistles of an NT Live recording, or the lush melodrama of a Lloyd Webber operetta, Flowers For Mrs Harris, a musical adaptation of Paul Gallico’s 1958 novel, has a whopping great heart.
Flowers For Mrs Harris has a whopping great heart
The screen teems with colourful characters
It’s about a widowed charlady, Mrs Harris, who travels to Paris in search of a Dior dress, and it’s got the sort of Blitz spirit we all need to keep going right now.
The screen teems with colourful characters, including Gary Wilmot as a wounded war vet-eran, and Laura Pitt-Pulford as a Parisian model, in Daniel Evans’s production.
Yes, Richard Taylor’s music can be a bit, er, chewy, but Clare Burt, in the title role, dispatches it with verve, creating a Mrs Harris who’s so gutsy you’ll want to toss your ration book in the air and cheer.
It’s about a widowed charlady, Mrs Harris, who travels to Paris in search of a Dior dress
Watch these puppets, then make your own
I Want My Hat Back
(Little Angel Theatre, YouTube)
Verdict: Kids doing it for themselves
Jon Klassen’s ‘I Want My Hat Back’
Attention toddlers! Prepare to go time-travelling with this sweet, home-made puppet version of Jon Klassen’s book.
It’s the kind of TV your parents (or grandparents) used to watch in the Jurassic era of broadcasting, when old loo rolls and sticky-back plastic formed the spine of children’s entertainment.
Performed under a cardboard arch on what looks like a chest of drawers in puppeteer Ian Nicholson’s bedroom, it’s not exactly War Horse.
But the tiny tot’s tale about a bear who’s lost his (or her) hat, is great inspiration to have a go yourself.
Islington’s Little Angel Theatre’s YouTube channel has a range of videos on how to make your own cardboard creatures, plus a ten-part series on how to stage your own puppet show.
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