As many of you are likely aware, all West End theatres closed with immediate effect on 16th March, with Broadway theatres having shut down several days prior to that. These are obviously difficult times for those who work in the entertainment industry, and my thoughts and prayers are with all of those that have been affected. In the meantime however, a number of stage shows, musicals and opera have been released online for people to watch online now for free; a truly wonderful gesture from some very kind producers. For those that have been missing the theatre in recent weeks, I would highly recommend taking part in online theatre streaming. Within the past two weeks, I have watched three excellent productions, and I am pleased to report positive experiences. Without further a do, here are the shows that I have seen throughout the past two weeks:
"Rose has a problem. She’s been betrayed by her lover, a local tree-dwelling astronomer, with her very own sister. Rose seeks vengeance and a passing bear might just offer the answer. But his services come at a price: a pot of honey, one piece of stardust, a secret baptism – and a photo of a ghost. A kaleidoscopic journey spanning continents, centuries and the cosmos ensues. But even through the fogs of time and a haze of whiskey, Rose can’t shake the feeling that she’s done this all before…"
Ghost Quartet is a distinctive and quirky show, and it proved to be unlike anything I had ever seen before. Its unique nature is undeniable, and seemingly adds to the show's charm. It is almost entirely sung-through, and features an excellent musical score written by Dave Malloy. The score does bare a certain resemblance to one of Malloy's other works, 'Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812', so admirers of the Great Comet are likely to appreciate Ghost Quartet as well. Personal favourites of mine from the score include 'The Astronomer' and 'Hero'. The interaction with audience members was a particular highlight of the production, and it was fun to watch people involving themselves in the show.
Ghost Quartet can be watched on YouTube for free here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJSaEJm8pCE.
"The story is about a teenager whose dreams provide him with the inspiration for a Hollywood blockbuster. Eugenius! boasts a totally originally score – Ben Adams’ homage to all the great sounds of the '80s - plus a scintillating script that makes you laugh, cry, and punch the air shouting #GoEugenius! This is a show where geeks rule, dreams come true, and everyone finds the superhero inside themselves – you’ve just gotta know where to look."
Eugenius boasts a brilliant cast, full of extremely talented individuals. In particular, Rob Houchen, Laura Baldwin and Dan Buckley were all phenomenal. They had excellent chemistry with one another, and delivered all-round outstanding performances. A department where Eugenius thrives is the feel-good factor which, at a time like this, is absolutely essential. It's an unquestionably fun show from beginning to end, and provided barrels of entertainment.
Eugenius can be watched on YouTube for free here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTdm1ivNL2s.
One Man, Two Guvnors
"Fired from his skiffle band, Francis Henshall becomes minder to Roscoe Crabbe, a small time East End hood, now in Brighton to collect £6000 from his fiancee’s dad. But Roscoe is really his sister Rachel posing as her own dead brother, who’s been killed by her boyfriend Stanley Stubbers. Holed up at the Cricketers’ Arms, the permanently ravenous Francis spots the chance of an extra meal ticket and takes a second job with one Stanley Stubbers, who is hiding from the police and waiting to be re-united with Rachel. To prevent discovery, Francis must keep his two guvnors apart. Simple."
The cast of One Man, Two Guvnors were truly incredible. James Corden and Oliver Chris are especially outstanding, with both actors delivering marvellous performances. Corden won the Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Play for his work in One Man, Two Govnors, and after having seen the show for myself, it is easy to see why. His comedic timing was absolutely impeccable, and he was utterly hilarious to watch. In addition to this, he interacted with the audience very well, and proved rather talented at improvisation. The scenic design by Mark Thompson is another high point of the show, and really helped the play come to life. One Man, Two Govnors is a remarkably funny show, and its release comes at a time when comic relief is drastically needed in the world. The infamous dinner scene proves to be the highlight of the show in relation to comedy, and I was in stitches laughing.
One Man, Two Guvnors can be watched on YouTube for free until 9th April here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzqcRwWVv8k.
Thanks for reading!
-The Basic Theatre Reviewer