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It's a kind of magic: The Sorcerer's Apprentice @tsamusical

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  The story of the Sorcerer's Apprentice is updated to modern tastes in this funny and engaging new family musical. Here a father and his rebellious daughter discover their magic and save their town from a bunch of brooms while making a few observations about parenting, science and the environment.  Filmed at the Southwark Playhouse in February, it's also a reminder about what we're still missing from live theatre. While it's great to see a new show streamed online, you also have to let your imagination remind you where there would be applause and laughter from this energetic and thoughtful production. Hopefully, we will get the chance to see this show live someday.  Written by Richard Hough and Ben Morales Frost, the story takes place in a small northern town called Midgard. It's on the brink of environmental destruction due to the endless search for prosperity. Eva, played by Mary Moore (making her professional stage/streaming debut), is a school dropout. But she

Summer streams: West End Musical Drive-In #Westendmusicaldrivein

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West End Musical Drive-in was an ingenious way to combat social distancing regulations over the past summer and give performers the chance to be on stage during the pandemic.  Now, if you missed the excitement and enthusiasm of the 2020 concerts, Stream Theatre is giving you a chance over the next month to re-live the experience from home. The streamed shows feel like they capture the relief, the raw energy and the occasional rain shower that made up the summer of 2020. The shows were staged at a drive-in venue off the London north circular, with various West End performers. Part show, part drive-in and part immersive experience. Car horns and headlights replace applause. Mobile phones are encouraged to live tweet and mood lighting. It’s a great concept that hopefully will extend beyond the pandemic as an alternative way to see West End performers. Layton Williams (from Everyone’s Talking About Jamie), Shan Ako (Les Miserables), Maiya Quansah Breed (Six) and Shanay Holmes (Rent) were

A matter of laughs and death: Good Grief

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Another week in lockdown passes. The chances of theatres reopening anytime soon still seem remote. And so experiments with the possibilities for theatrical streams continues with Good Grief .  Theatre streams have been filmed plays, staged readings or even staged like a zoom meeting. Good Grief plays with the feeling of a staged production. Scene changes and props are moved around on camera and titles pop up on screen to set the scene.  It opens at the end of a party. It looks like it's been a big night of drinking and going on. But it turns out that it was after a wake. In between sorting out the mess from the party Cat (Sian Clifford) and Adam (Nikesh Patel) stumble around the topic of losing someone they both loved to cancer. The piece tracks Cat and Adam coming to terms with their loss, their feelings of guilt about leaving things not the way they had hoped. And they're trying to navigate the niceties and expected behaviours following a death in modern Britain. What's t

Streaming Through: Little Wars (A reading)

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Is it week six or seven in this national lockdown? Lockdowns have been a chance to go on long walks through central London. It's fascinating to go through the West End and see theatres advertising shows that would have been there for a fraction of the time they’ve now been. Jennifer Saunders mugging it in Blythe Spirit comes to mind. It's as if time has stopped and it's still March 2020. But going on long walks has led to missing some online theatrical events. And so it's great to see that Little Wars has returned for another two weeks on Stream Theatre.  Set in the French Alps at the home of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas (her lover). They're hosting a party that also happens to be on the evening of the German invasion. It's a fantasy party that imagines the guests being Agatha Christie, Lillian Hellman and Dorothy Parker. There's another mysterious guest who goes by the name of Mary. As the night wears on and the drink continues to flow, sparring abou

Panto at the sofa: The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington @wesleepingtrees

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If you’re missing live theatre and missing live panto, Sleeping Trees have come up with an ingenious way to bring the spirit of panto season to your living room or your makeshift office (if you’re not casting it on television). The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington isn’t a show for couch potatoes either as you’ll find yourself throwing things at your telly or making a ship out of a sofa. And my household agreed that at fifty minutes long it has more laughs than series four of the Crown.  The premise is that Dick Whittington having defeated King Rat, is Mayor of London. And during his first Christmas Santa is eaten by a large white wale. And so with the help of Dr Arab, a marine biologist they find the Whale, and get out Santa and save Christmas. Sleeping Trees have a history of turning traditional pantomimes on their head. Previous shows included Cinderella and the Beanstalk and Scrooge and the Seven Dwarves . Now with The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington, they can use the magic of reco

Come inside and take a seat: Unfamiliar at home

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Continuing the online theatrical experiences is Unfamiliar at Home . Streamed online using the all-too-familiar office video conferencing facilities of Zoom, it brings to life the trials of domestic life, being queer and the desire for a family. It's part performance, mixed media and office meeting. But it captures the ordinary and extraordinary lives of creative people living in improvised and unexpected domestic arrangements. The piece introduces us to Victor and Yorgos. They want to have children. Or at least that's what they think. But past run-ins with parents, the economic uncertainty of being artists and the struggle of finding a surrogate are barriers. And there's plenty of unsolicited advice about what makes a family and how to become queer parents. I was surprised none of the advice was about making childproof their home, but maybe nobody had seen their overstuffed bookcases until now. The story is autobiographical and at times intimate as it goes into the detail

Manhunt: In Search of a White Identity @TheActorsCentre

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After a summer of protests and counter-protests, In Search of a White Identity looks at what happens next. Patrick and Mickey are in a cell. Both were arrested at the same protest but from opposite sides. Mickey and his like-minded people have a beef with immigrants who have out-priced him at work or on the property ladder. So he hit some guy. And Patrick’s been arrested for threatening behaviour after getting caught up with a group who were trying to take down statues.  While sizing each other up, they realise they’d grown up in the same neighbourhood. Back then, everyone got on. Or so it seemed. Nostalgia gives way to darker, harsher memories of abuse, fear and poverty. And the search for a single cause of their grievances finds that it is the conversation rather than the rhetoric that  makes all the difference. Initially presented in 2019, it has been reimagined after the events of 2020. After all, there was a time over the summer that Saturday afternoon around Trafalgar Square was

Goodbye to London: Falling Stars @Gingerqmedia @TheUnionTheatre @stream_theatre

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A lost songbook in an antique shop on East Finchley High Road in London could be a metaphor for a lost London. Peter Polycarpou’s discovery of a songbook full of songs from the 1920s is the basis of a song cycle that pays homage to the composers and creators of some of the most memorable and influential songs of the time. But they also capture the escapist mood sought during a different time and place.  Watching  Falling Stars online  at the end of 2020 during a second lockdown feels like reminiscing over a lost London and what it was like before March when you could pop out for an evening at a small theatre and get lost in some terrific storytelling or music-making. It’s a part education of the early twentieth-century songbook, and part entertainment as Peter Polycarpou and Sally Ann Triplett interpret the songs and music of Chaplin, Irving Berlin, Buddy De-Silva, Arthur Freed and Meredith Wilson. The songs about better days, loss and reflection hark back to a different time and p