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Life without art: Theatre Channel Episode Seven @thetheatrechannel

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Regents Park and the spaces around Regents Park Open Air Theatre transform into a magical world full of Rodgers and Hammerstein music in the latest episode of the Theatre Channel . Audition waiting rooms. Picnics in the park. Even the pond geese feature in this reinterpretation of the classic songs from the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook. Theatres are still playing to half capacity since being an afterthought in the great unlock down. And so, the Theatre Channel’s episodes continue to serve as a reminder about what we’re missing. This time around, it’s singing and dancing in the park. Without the garbage or hordes of people mulling about.  Performances in and around the park taking a fresh look at the Rodgers and Hammerstein songbook include Michael Xavier performing Climb Every Mountain/You’ll Never Walk Alone’ from The Sound of Music and Carousel on an empty stage. Josefina Gabrielle in an alfresco take on The Gentleman Is a Dope’ from Allegro. And Caroline Sheen turning Whistle A

Aviatrix or bust: Lone Flyer @jstheatre

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Lone Flyer is about taking chances and living a little. Celebrating the life of British pilot Amy Johnson, the idea of flying to bring people together seems a novel idea living in the era of traffic light restrictions and endless swabs. And so, Lone Flyer takes on new meaning for escapism at the Jermyn Street Theatre . Charts the highs and lows of living in early 20th century Britain, it's also one woman's story about escaping the typing pool and living a little. Amy Johnson decided to fly to Australia because it was there. And no other woman had done it. And so, with a bit of luck and flying mostly to outposts of the old Empire so she could count on their support, she did it. And all on a second-hand aeroplane. For an antipodean with no chance of flying to Australia anytime soon, given the lack of flights and long waiting lists, it's enugh to give you pause.  In this two-handler play, first seen at the Watermill Theatre, Writer Ade Morris contrasts her improbable rise to f

Two handers: No Strings Attached @KingsHeadThtr

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It seems apt that the first live theatre to watch since the pandemic kicked off in 2020 was about two men not entirely sure about who they are after an awkward encounter. After all, adjusting to new routines of mask-wearing, restrictions, bubble seating. It all feels just as awkward and enthralling as two men hooking up in a London car park for the first time. Charles Entsie’s No Strings Attached was to open the Kings Head Theatre in Spring 2020. But the delay has been worth it. Presented in an empty shop space in Islington Square, it feels more like you’re in a car park where the action takes place. And performing in an empty shop space is a reminder (whether intended or not), of the impact the year has had on retail and hospitality.  There are no names. There’s only a man (Razak Osman) and a boy (Shak Benjamin). Opening after the end of a brief encounter, the man tries to strike upon a conversation with the boy for reasons that aren’t entirely clear initially.  An awkward conversati

Streaming from a long way home: Side by Side

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Ann Hampton Callaway and her sister Liz Callaway are reunited at Ann's home in Tucson to stream their concert Side By Side to our homes. Both are award-winning artists with a reputation for insightful interpretations of popular songs, broadway and jazz, along with their compositions. Last seen in London at the Hippodrome in 2015 , the stream captures some of the magic of their live cabaret performances.  Their last collaboration, Sibling Revelry, sent up the idea they were brutal competitors. The focus here is more on getting together and singing some songs. Microphones may not work (or get dropped), lyrics get messed up, but they carry on with the spirit of being together and making music.   Songs include Melissa Manchester's Come In From the Rain, songs by Sondheim and Stephen Schwartz. There's also a medley of songs they used to sing growing up from the back of the car to taunt their parents on long drives. You could imagine their parents weighing up whether to be annoy

Previews: Public Domain @PublicDomainWE

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As theatres tentatively reopen (albeit under restrictions), several short runs appear on the West End, showcasing performers and new works. One of these is Public Domain . After a digital debut at Southwark Playhouse last year, the musical about the words of Vloggers, Instagram influences and other social media hangers-on get a live premiere in the West End this week.  Written and performed by Francesca Forristal and Jordan Paul Clarke, the musical comic musical follows two teenage influencers and ‘footage’  inside the Facebook freak show otherwise known as Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan.  ‘Black Mirror’ but set to music and the real thing. Or is it?? ‘Public Domain’ will perform for five performances only from 27 – 30 May 2021 at the Vaudeville theatre. There are COVID-19 Secure guidelines for social distancing. You can expect hand sanitation, face coverings and track and trace, contactless tickets, temperature testing. Amusing disinformation set to music is likely too. 

Dancing in the streets: The Theatre Channel

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The Theatre Cafe continues its online series of showcasing performers with well-known songs from Broadway and the West End and available through   Stream.Theatre . The site has become a source for West End-flavoured entertainment over the past year, and its a musical revue and showcase for some of the West End's best-known performers. Shot at the Theatre Cafe and locations around the West End The Charing Cross Theatre, the production uses the empty spaces that would typically be where tourists, workers and Londoners would be. The episodes are a celebration and reminder of what we've been missing with the closure of theatres.  The performers include Kerry Ellis singing Always Starting Over from If/Then, Layton Williams singing Hold Me In Your Heart from Kinky Boots. And Katie Deacon performing Music And The Mirror from A Chorus Line across the empty streets of London, serving as a reminder about the pandemic's toll on both the city and the industry.  There's an additiona

Buffering and biding: Waiting for Lefty @twolinestheatre

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Waiting for Lefty, Clifford Odets depression-era agitprop theatre piece gets transformed for the covid-era in this fascinating production that gives you a chance to both enjoy the work and immerse yourself in a post-show discussion about what you've just seen. It's an excellent concept for theatre streams and recreates interval moments of passing conversations (albeit curated with knowledgeable experts). By the end, you feel you appreciate the piece its context. Streamed through Zoom, there's a thirties-era look and feel to the piece. Yet as the drama unfolds, it is within modern homes. The anachronistic treatment suits the material well. It calls for minimal staging, and so having actors perform within their own homes takes this to a new level.  The piece starts with a group of cab drivers (and the audience) at a union meeting. The drivers are debating whether to strike for a living wage. And they're waiting for Lefty, their elected chairman, to give them an idea about

Streams of observations: Tales from the Front Line @TalawaTheatreCo

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The final films in the online series from Talawa Theatre Company’s Tales from the Front Line are now available. The series uses verbatim interviews with Black key workers to explore what it’s like living in Britain today. The pandemic, Windrush Scandal, Black Lives Matter are all reference points to suggest that the post-pandemic world should be a different one.  One of the new episodes features Adjoa Andoh, as a teacher with vaccine hesitancy. Yet among the disinformation and noise that’s enough to fill Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon, she decides to protect herself and get vaccinated. Since sometimes, all her children need is a hug.  Tales From the Front Line aims to create a record of the stories of Black people on the front line of the Covid crisis and designed as space for Back workers to share their experiences. Black artists and creatives have then taken the testimonies to convey stories with music, performance and choreography. The final series of films are available fro