Streaming Through: Little Wars (A reading)
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 about writing, criticism and art come out. Along with the increasingly precarious situation, they find themselves in. Alternatively bitchy, dramatic and funny, with a cast that includes Juliet Stevenson and Linda Bassett, the reading is also given a classy touch.
Directed by Hannah Chissick, the actors are front and centre of the action talking to camera putting you up close in a way that you wouldn't experience at the theatre. But after a year of zoom calls and online meetings, it seems perfectly natural to have a series of talking heads in boxes on the screen.
But choose how you watch it. Trying various ways to watch, it was the laptop or tablet that worked best. Streaming through a television seemed to muddy the cracking dialogue.
Little Wars, written by Steven Carl McCasland, is available to stream until 14 February.
Photo by John Brannoch