NT Live

NT LIVE PRESENTS HAROLD PINTER’S ‘NO MAN’S LAND’

 

Following their hit run on Broadway, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart (they last appeared together in Waiting for Godot back in 2009) returned to the West End stage in Harold Pinter’s NO MAN’S LAND, captured live to cinemas from Wyndham’s Theatre, London as part of the wonderful NT Live series. The production ended its season at the Wyndham on December 17, 2016.

Pinter’s play transfers wonderfully from stage to screen , is clearly and thoughtfully shot with terrific use of close up at certain points ( for example when Patrick Stewart as Spooner crumbles in despair at one point in the first act, or the tension at his crawling exit. Or McKellan’s face when Hirst admits to seducing Spooner’s wife).

Superbly directed by Sean Mathias and with a stellar cast this is a magnificent, tense production. Continue reading NT LIVE PRESENTS HAROLD PINTER’S ‘NO MAN’S LAND’

NT LIVE PRESENTS THREE PENNY OPERA

opening of the show with the Balladeer

kThis latest offering as part of the NT Live wonderful season is dark, disturbing and compelling.

The social comment and context is extremely important. Directed by Rufus Norris and adapted by Simon Stephens much is made of the savage despair of Brecht and Weill’s era and the ‘skint people ‘.

THREE PENNY OPERA tells the tale of how Macheath brings down the Peachum’s wrath on his head by marrying their daughter Polly before going on the run through London’s dismal brothels, with his former lover and one time collaborator Chief Inspector “Tiger” Brown in hot pursuit. Continue reading NT LIVE PRESENTS THREE PENNY OPERA

NT LIVE PRESENTS LES LIASONS DANGEREUSES AT THE DONMAR

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Gripping and enthralling this is a dazzling production. Directed by Josie Rourke this is the presentation in the National Theatre Of London (NT Live) series.

The play is set in the eighteenth century, by flattering atmospheric candlelight ( there are five chandeliers used) and, as at a theatre of the era , they are lowered, the candles cleaned and trimmed and raised again at interval.

The costumes are sumptuous. Yet there are dust sheets, scuffed walls and paintings stacked leaning against the walls as if for they are for packaging and removing. And then there is the harpsichord… Continue reading NT LIVE PRESENTS LES LIASONS DANGEREUSES AT THE DONMAR

NT LIVE PRESENTS JANE EYRE

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The latest in the marvelous NT Live screenings, this epic, sprawling production, some three and a half hours long,  is a co -production between the Bristol Old Vic and the National Theatre. The production originally was even longer and the Company spaced it over two nights.  For its transfer to the National in London, director Sally Cookson has adapted and abridged it to fit into one evening.

This is an extraordinary vivid, compelling and gripping production that is faithful to the great Bronte classic. For those unfamiliar with the book, the story is as follows- Impetuous , passionate orphan Jane Eyre ( here played by Madeleine Worrall), coldly rejected and stifled by her relatives, somehow survives her appalling childhood to find unexpected freedom when she arrives at Thornfield Hall to be meet with acceptance, family and an ally in the master of the house, Mr Rochester (here played by Felix Hayes).However appearances are deceptive , and Jane soon unearths sinister secrets within the walls of Thornfield… Continue reading NT LIVE PRESENTS JANE EYRE

NT LIVE presents HAMLET

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Anastasia Hille as Gertrude and Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet. Production photography by Johan Parsson.

More than hotly anticipated, the National Theatre Live’s HAMLET at The Barbican, became the fastest selling ticket in London theatrical history.

Lyndsey Turner’s production is towering, bleak and imposing and uses a slightly bridge and shifted text.

As the Prince of Denmark Benedict Cumberbatch is sensational. He gives a finely nuanced an d multi-faceted performance.

Dressed in contemporary casual at the beginning, we first see him in a room in the castle going through trunks of his father’s things. It is hard to tell if his madness is feigned or not.  At times he is intensely coiled and wound up, barely in control. The famous monologues are delivered wonderfully, seemingly fresh and new-minted.  Continue reading NT LIVE presents HAMLET

NT LIVE: THE AUDIENCE (ENCORE SCREENINGS July 2015)

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“If you want to know how it is that the monarchy in this country has survived as long as it has – don’t look to its monarchs. Look to its prime ministers.” THE AUDIENCE

They don’t get much better than this. Along with most of my colleagues I am searching for superlatives to describe THE AUDIENCE, filmed at the Gielgud Theatre in London. Continue reading NT LIVE: THE AUDIENCE (ENCORE SCREENINGS July 2015)

BERNARD SHAW – NT Live: MAN AND SUPERMAN

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George Bernard Shaw’s 1903 MAN AND SUPERMAN with more than 57,000 words, is an epic romantic comedy of manners, a witty social satire and presents a range of very profound philosophical arguments and other existential topics and theories.

Full of contradictions, the play is a comedy about ideas – most of the characters passionately discuss and debate a range of subjects including politics, capitalism, socialism, social reform, male/female roles in courtship. It definitely has a certain Wildean appeal, with a multitude of clever witticisms, about music and the morals of the English upper classes, whilst questioning the integrity of English politicians.

When first published it was pronounced as being unstageable, because its verbosity made it unwieldy.  The play asks fundamental questions about how we live, during its four acts lasting nearly four hours, and all the messages conveyed remain still very relevant today, and in its genre this play remains forever a provocative theatre landmark.

Continue reading BERNARD SHAW – NT Live: MAN AND SUPERMAN

NT Live: Tom Stoppard’s new play: THE HARD PROBLEM

Inset pic- Olivia Vinall plays Hilary. Featured pic- Damien Malony plays Spike and Olivia Vinall as Hilary in The Hard Problem
Inset pic- Olivia Vinall plays Hilary. Featured pic- Damien Malony plays Spike and Olivia Vinall as Hilary in The Hard Problem

What exactly is consciousness? Is our identity the product of what Francis Crick calls “a vast assembly of nerve cells”? How much is human behaviour the product of altruism or egoism? Is there a God?!

These are some of the questions that Tom Stoppard asks in his deeply moving and explorative play, THE HARD PROBLEM.

This is the first new play by Stoppard in nine years and it has been produced as part of this years’ NT Live season. It also represents Nicholas Heytner’s final and very stylish production as the Artistic Director of the National Theatre. Continue reading NT Live: Tom Stoppard’s new play: THE HARD PROBLEM

NT Live: TREASURE ISLAND

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Ahoy me hearties! All aboard for a thrilling, somewhat dark piratical adventure.

When a treasure map is discovered, what else is there to do but go in search of it? Robert Louis Stevenson’s story of mutiny , murder, and money is vividly brought to life in this thrilling new stage adaptation by Bryony Lavery, broadcast as part of the NT Live series.

It’s a dark, stormy night. The stars are out. Jim, the inn-keeper’s grandson, opens the door to a terrifying stranger. At the old sailor’s feet sits a huge sea-chest, full of secrets. Jim invites him in – and his dangerous voyage begins. Along the way, Jim learns loyalty, trust and friendship.

Lizzie Clachan’s revolving, collapsing, pulsating set, dominated by a semicircle of giant ‘tusks’, making one think both of a wrecked hull and the rib bones of a creature’s carcass, is glorious. When the vast ‘Hispaniola’ majestically rises up on the revolving stage – rigging looming large as a bouyant shanty rises – the effect is magnificent. And the same applies for the breathtaking galaxy of stars visible at times.           Continue reading NT Live: TREASURE ISLAND

NT LIve : DV8: JOHN

This is a darkly disturbing, confronting work that is extremely powerful. It is a piece of verbatim theatre in which the text is derived entirely from interviews with real people, reworked into a usable theatre script.

DV8 Physical Theatre has produced 18 highly acclaimed dance-theatre works and four films for TV to date, gathering over 50 UK and international awards. Previous DV8 works To Be Straight With You and Can We Talk About This? I, for example, collated a mass of voices, but this work focuses on just one voice, that of John.

Portrayed with gentle , calm and quiet poise by Hannes Langolf, John seems to have been chosen as the main subject because of his suffering in his unfortunate life. The pain John has been through, and the depths to which he sank into drugs and criminality, are shown as being the result of a childhood of horrific domestic abuse. Continue reading NT LIve : DV8: JOHN

NT Live: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

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Inset Pic- Gillian Anderson as Blanche Dubois. Featured pic- Ben Foster as Stanley Kowalski. Pics by Johan Persson

It is sweltering in this extraordinary powerful, shattering, very intimate performance of A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE by Tennessee Williams. Part of the season at the Young Vic in London , it is screened as part of the ‘NT Live’ series and explodes onto the screen .

Benedict Andrews has updated the production to now, set in present day New Orleans with jumpy blasts of rock music including Jimi Hendrix and Chris Isaac.         Continue reading NT Live: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

NT Live: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME (ENCORE SCREENINGS May 2014)

Lynn's reviewThe National Theatre Live program, is a groundbreaking initiative to capture and broadcast live theatre performances from Britain’s stages to cinemas worldwide. The highly anticipated first season of events, which began in June 2009 with the acclaimed production of Phédre starring Helen Mirren, was seen by over 150,000 people on 320 screens in 22 countries. In 2014 there are now 1,100 screens around the world.

The 2003 award-winning, children’s mystery novel written by Mark Haddon, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” revolves around Christopher, a fifteen year old boy, an intriguing but impatient genius who cannot bear to be touched, that has Behavioural Problems similar to high-functioning Aspergers Syndrome, who describes himself as “a mathematician with some behavioural difficulties”.

This stage version provides spectacular and innovative storytelling, as adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Marianne Elliott (War Horse), and was designed to be performed on a small traverse stage, with the audience on all sides, and has a memorable musical score, that is perfectly suited to the narrative.

Christopher has an extraordinary brain, and whilst he is exceptional at maths, he is ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. Because Christopher falls under suspicion of killing Mrs Shears’ dog Wellington, he becomes a private detective, to solve the mystery of the murder, by writing everything into his case book. However his detective work is forbidden by his dad. We become part of the internalised world of this very isolated boy, and we follow his forbidden detective work during  his journey to discover the whole truth; however Christopher manages to uncover secrets about his parents’ marriage and the community at large.

Luke Treadaway’s phenomenal performance as Christopher, especially when trying to navigate the sensory (visual and audible) overload of travelling on the London Underground, unassisted and for the first time, in its overcrowded peak-hour state, is just one of the many memorable visual experiences seen during the delightful and very visceral play. The play clearly shows that for children when alone, the world is actually a surreal and frightening place, and beautiful too. The imaginative adaptation of the book with its unique staging and memorable design is startling and original, and once seen is never forgotten.

Sean Gleason shines as his often anguished dad, and Niamh Cusack is perfect as his kindly teacher, plus comic and very talented supporting performances from the huge cast in multiple roles. The play was the winner of seven Olivier Awards in 2013, including Best New Play.

National Theatre Live – Season Four (2012-2013), and first broadcast from 6th October 2012.

From 24th May 2014, there will be only three Premium Special Event Cinema encore screenings of THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME  at 1:00pm Saturday, Sunday, Monday at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, Cremorne .

Running time – 177 minutes including one interval.

http://www.sharmillfilms.com.au/?page_id=2197

Please note that a  2 disc DVD set of the National Theatre’s 50th anniversary celebrations is now available to import from the United Kingdom. Please check their official website for more details.

NT Live: KING LEAR

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Academy Award® winner Sam Mendes (Skyfall, American Beauty) returns to the Olivier Theatre’s grand thrust stage at the National Theatre, to direct the two-time Olivier Award winner, Simon Russell Beale (Timon of Athens, Collaborators) in the title role of Shakespeare’s dark tragedy about the last days of a mad dictator. This cosmic story of ancient Britons, is attached to a framework that unashamedly provides the audience with a very violent and brutal modern dress production, that unexpectedly contained full frontal male nudity.

‘Skyfall’ director Sam Mendes’s highly-anticipated return to the NT, is with Simon Russell Beale’s ‘extraordinary’ KING LEAR. Feeling his years, the weary KING LEAR (Simon Russell Beale) plans to divide his realm between his three daughters, entirely in his own self-interest, and tells them that just the one who declares the greatest love for him, will win the lion’s share. Goneril (Kate Fleetwood) and Regan (Anna Maxwell Martin) bravely attempt to outdo one another with extravagant praise. However his favourite (the youngest daughter), is disgusted by their behaviour, so Cordelia (Olivia Vinall), refuses to say anything.

KING LEAR is typically chosen as a leading actor’s eventual end-of-career final date with destiny as a role for far into the future, as this is the one gigantic character role, that a great actor may aspire to play eventually. Simon Russell Beale decided to finally made the role his own, after his 53rd birthday. Fortunately, Simon Russell Beale is NOT leading man material, and has always chosen those roles that are character-driven, plus this actor has that wonderful and very chameleon-like ability to transcend his own distinctive physicality to totally transform himself during the play; starting as a the most powerful man in the kingdom, who seems to shrink visibly after interval, with his growing grief and his growing madness from the death of his three daughters.

Approximate running time – 3hrs 25mins including interval.

National Theatre Live – Season Five (2013-2014)

In selected cinemas from 21st June 2014.   There will be only three Premium Special Event Cinema Screenings of KING LEAR  at 1:00pm Saturday, Sunday, Monday at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, Cremorne .

http://www.sharmillfilms.com.au/?page_id=2197

 

Please note that a  2 disc DVD set of the National Theatre’s 50th anniversary celebrations is now available to direct import from the United Kingdom. Please check their official website for more details.

 

Download and read   THE TRAGEDY OF KING LEAR   the full (1605) script   – – –   http://shakespeare.mit.edu/lear/full.html   – – –

 

NT Live: THE AUDIENCE

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Richard McCabe (Harold Wilson), Helen Mirren (Queen Elizabeth) and Edward Fox (Winston Churchill). Pic Dave Benett

“If you want to know how it is that the monarchy in this country has survived as long as it has – don’t look to its monarchs. Look to its prime ministers.” THE AUDIENCE

They don’t get much better than this. Along with most of my colleagues I am searching for superlatives to describe THE AUDIENCE, filmed at the Gielgud Theatre in London.

Continue reading NT Live: THE AUDIENCE