It is officially week 6 of the lockdown for those of us in the United Kingdom, and yet the theatre community is still going strong. There continues to be a wide array of online theatre available online, leaving audience members spoilt for choice. I myself have continued my occasional experience of online theatre, and have very much enjoyed it. Without further delay, here are the shows that I have had the pleasure of seeing throughout the past two weeks:
"It’s a dark, stormy night. The stars are out. Jim, the inn-keeper’s granddaughter, 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 her dangerous voyage begins."
The most striking aspect of the National Theatre production of Treasure Island was its extraordinary scenic design, created by Lizzie Clachan. The set really brought the surroundings of the play to life, and made it easy to immerse yourself within the action. In particular, the design of the pirate ship was remarkable, as was the island scenery. Treasure Island also boasts an exceptional cast, with Patsy Ferran in the leading role of Jim. Ferran gave a remarkable performance, and was excellent from beginning to end. Finally, I also greatly admired the animatronic parrot that was used in the show. It was an excellent addition, and added a lot of much-needed humour to the show.
Treasure Island can no longer be watched on YouTube.
Love Never Dies
"The musical is set in 1907, a decade after the end of Phantom. Christine Daaé is invited to perform at Phantasma, a new attraction in Coney Island, by an anonymous impresario and, with her husband Raoul and son Gustave in tow, journeys to Brooklyn, unaware that it is the Phantom who has arranged her appearance in the popular beach resort."
Prior to watching the livestream of Love Never Dies I was quite familiar with the show, having seen the US National Tour in Summer 2018. Whilst I know that the show has a tendency to divide opinions, I personally quite enjoy it. First and foremost, I am very fond of the musical score, which is truly enchanting. I am quite a fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber's work, and he never disappoints. Among my personal favourites from this score are 'Til I Hear You Sing', 'Beneath a Moonless Sky' and 'The Beauty Underneath'. In addition to that, the entirety of the cast were utterly captivating to watch. It was however Anna O'Byrne as Christine Daaé that stole the show. O'Bryne had a beautiful voice, and delivered a wonderful rendition of the titular song, 'Love Never Dies'.
Love Never Dies can no longer be watched on YouTube for free, though it can still be purchased either on Digital HD or DVD.
Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration
"Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration was chock-full of Broadway goodness: Mandy Patinkin singing outside with his dog, Beanie Feldstein and Ben Platt's adorable "It Takes Two," Bernadette Peters' a cappella "No One Is Alone," Neil Patrick Harris' "Witch's Rap," Patti LuPone breaking hearts with "Anyone Can Whistle," a Sunday in the Park with George reunion for Annaleigh Ashford and Jake Gyllenhaal, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Giants in the Sky," Christine Baranski, Audra McDonald and Meryl Streep's highly GIF-able "Ladies Who Lunch" and so many more!"
Take Me to the World was an absolutely incredible event to witness; it was well and truly awe-inspiring in every sense of the word. It featured a number of my all-time favourite artists, and it was such a privilege to have the opportunity to watch them all perform. The event in itself was very well done and was masterfully edited, featuring a great variety of different shows and songs. The concert proved to be the perfect tribute to Sondheim's long-lasting legacy, and I am thrilled that he was honoured in this fashion. Additionally, not only did the concert serve to honour Sondheim, but the event also helped to raise money for the charity of 'Artists Striving to End Poverty'; a very good cause indeed. My personal favourite from the evening was Alexander Gemignani, who performed 'Buddy's Blues' from Follies. Gemignani was thoroughly entertaining throughout the entirety of his song, and was just so much fun to watch. I also greatly enjoyed Annaleigh Ashford and Jake Gyllenhaal performing 'Move On' from Sunday in the Park with George. Watching that performance brought back so many memories of watching them together on Broadway, and I hope we can see them return to the stage sooner rather than later. Special mentions must also be given to Raúl Esparza, who performed 'Take Me to the World' from Evening Primrose, and Randy Rainbow, who performed 'By the Sea' from Sweeney Todd.
Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration can be watched on YouTube for free here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A92wZIvEUAw.
Thanks for reading!
-The Basic Theatre Reviewer