Watch these fantastic musical theatre documentaries

Why not use the lockdown period to catch up on your musical theatre history? From the making of iconic shows to fascinating backstage tales and industry insight, these documentaries help to fill the stagey void.

Read my full BroadwayWorld article here

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Cats, The Shows Must Go On

Cats is, declares composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, a show that doesn’t really have a story, but was beloved on stage because it’s “the ultimate theatrical experience”. That’s the point which Tom Hooper’s grotesque, nightmarish movie adaptation so profoundly missed, with its computer-generated monstrosities and ham-fisted attempts at miring this fanciful material in leaden reality – albeit one in which relative size warps every second, and Judi Dench wears the carcass of another cat.

Read my full theartsdesk review here

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Shobana Jeyasingh Dance: Configurations

Acclaimed contemporary company Shobana Jeyasingh Dance are now sharing work online, kicking off with their seminal 1988 Configurations. Reworked in 2012, it’s a ground-breaking collaboration between Jeyasingh and composer Michael Nyman.

Read my full The i Paper top pick here

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The Swan, Birmingham Royal Ballet Online

The great Russian prima ballerina Anna Pavlova danced The Dying Swan – a short work choreographed for her by Mikhail Fokine – around 4,000 times. It was such a key part of her identity that she reportedly cried out, while on her deathbed, “Prepare my swan costume!”.

Read my full The i Paper review here

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BWW Interview: Dick Bird

The designer shares his process and discusses Scottish Opera’s Nixon in China.

Read my full BroadwayWorld interview here

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The Thread, Sadler’s Wells Online

The latest Sadler’s Wells digital offering is 2019’s The Thread, a luminous collaboration between choreographer Russell Maliphant and Oscar-winning composer Vangelis (Chariots of FireBlade Runner) for the Athens-based production company Lavris. It’s a striking, contemporary take on Greek folk dance and classical mythology, with a series of abstract episodes forming the 75-minute work. Fragmented, and yet, as the title suggests, subtly woven together – like a collection of disparate beads strung onto one piece of string.

Read my full theartsdesk review here

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Rain, Sadler’s Wells Online

The latest Sadler’s Wells Digital Stage offering is a real treat for contemporary dance fans: leading choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s signature work, performed by her company, Rosas, at the venue in 2017.

Read my full The i Paper review here

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Treasure Island, National Theatre at Home

Swaggering pirates, X marks the spot, a chattering parrot, “Yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum”? All present and correct. But Bryony Lavery’s winning 2014 adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson for the National, directed by Polly Findlay, also features key updates and wonderfully creative ideas, plus a good blend of horror and humour. With a 10+ age recommendation, this lively two-hour piece is excellent lockdown family viewing.

Read my full theartsdesk review here

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BWW Interview: Anthony Alderson

The Artistic Director of the Pleasance discusses his time at the helm, dealing with the cancellation of this year’s Festival, and what the shutdown means for theatre.

Read my full BroadwayWorld interview here

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Drawing the Line, Hampstead Theatre online

This week’s gem from the Hampstead’s vaults is Howard Brenton’s political drama from 2013, telling the extraordinary, stranger-than-fiction story of Cyril Radcliffe and his 1947 mission: to arrange the Partition of India in just five weeks. A tale of battling ideologies, gross colonial arrogance and disregard, and the unlikely significance of an extramarital affair, this history lesson makes for surprisingly gripping theatre – and, to Brenton’s great credit, he manages a lucid account of this complex, seismic undertaking in less than two hours.

Read my full theartsdesk review here

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