Finborough Theatre’s IT IS EASY TO BE DEAD

Award-winning playwright Neil McPherson’s IT IS EASY TO BE DEAD was produced during the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, and went on to gain multiple-award nominations, including for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. This is the first play to be made available online from the tiny but important Finborough Theatre (of which McPherson is Artistic Director).

Born in Aberdeen, Charles Sorley was one of the first to join the army in 1914. Killed in action a year later at the age of 20, his poems are among the most ambivalent , profound and moving war poetry ever written.

IT IS EASY TO BE DEAD tells the story of Sorley’s brief life through his work, blended with music and songs from some of the greatest composers of the period including George Butterworth, Dòmhnall Ruadh Chorùna, Ivor Gurney, John Ireland, Rudi Stephan and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Unique among the poets of the First World War, Sorley’s life and work fits chronologically into the patriotic idealism of such writers as Julian Grenfell and Rupert Brooke (whom Sorley criticised for his “sentimental attitude”). Perhaps because of his time in Germany before the war, Sorley perceived the truth of the war long before his fellow writers, and anticipated the grim disillusionment of later poets such as Wilfred Owen, Isaac Rosenberg and Siegfried Sassoon.

The show runs 1 hour and 35 minutes and is available until July 7th.

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to Finborough Theatre to enable it to reopen after this crisis has passed.

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Watch Now: The Gate Theatre’s SUZY STORCK

Their voices.

Their bodies moving about.

Their bodies all over the place all over me all day.

I can’t stand it anymore.

Another unbearably hot evening.  Suzy Storck sits by the window.  A glass of wine.  A bottle.  Three.  Her husband’s left.  Maybe he’s coming home.  Maybe he’s not. The radio buzzes.  Upstairs, the sound of tiny hands behind a bedroom door.  Her children.  Another glass. The smell of an animal that isn’t quite yet dead.  And still the sun will just not set.

How exactly did she end up here? 

SUZY STORCK is the debut UK production of Jean-Pierre Baro, one of the most exciting new artists in French theatre, that dares to ask the question: what happens when you don’t want children – and you already have them?

Running time: 75 minutes

Suggested age guidance: 14+.

The show is currently available.

PLEASE NOTE This is an archival recording not originally intended for public viewing.

To watch SUZY STORCK, click here


Told By An Idiot’s MY PERFECT MIND

Leading UK theatre company Told By an Idiot is responding to the coronavirus crisis by releasing one show a week from their recorded repertoire. This week its a second outing for the magnificent MY PERFECT MIND, which I saw in 2014 and was blown away by its playfulness, honesty, tenderness and loving acceptance of the frailty of humanity. Edward Petherbridge gives a tour de force performance in a brilliantly uplifting show which was award-worthy in every sense of the word.

And now you have an opportunity to see this great show in the comfort of your own homes for free.

Artistic Director Paul Hunter said: “We have been thrilled by the response to the shows from our archive, in particular ‘MY PERFECT MIND’ so we have decided to show once more our homage to friendship, showbiz, and Shakespeare. We hope you enjoy it over the bank holiday weekend.

‘If someone had told me that one of our most successful shows would be a piece about a renowned actor having a stroke and not playing King Lear, I would have laughed. However ‘My Perfect Mind’ which did two runs at the Young Vic, a UK tour, Barcelona, and New York proved to be exactly that. Part examination of the human spirit seen through the prism of Lear, part homage to theatre, and ultimately a celebration of a unique friendship. 

The success of MPM was a testament to a great team, the wonderful Kathryn Hunter as our director who herself had played both Lear and the Fool provoked and guided us beautifully. Michael Vale’s extraordinarily simple, poetic, and playful set provided us with a wonderful playground. In short it was a great group to create something with, and finally I have to speak of Edward Petherbridge my partner in the show. As many people know he is a sublime actor, but he is also a wonderful and wild improviser. I learnt so much from playing with Edward, and I now consider him a dear friend. 

For those of you who know the show, I hope you enjoy revisiting it, and for those who may come to it afresh I hope it entertains and surprises.

The company faces financial difficulty like all others, so please consider making a donation or becoming a supporter to help them keep going. Please give whatever you feel able.

The show runs about 90 minutes and is available on demand until Friday May 15th.

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The National Theatre’s ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA

The National Theatre’s acclaimed, multiple award-winning 2018 production of Shakespeare’s ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA will be available to watch for free now until 7pm on Thursday 14th May (UK time).

At the fringes of a war-torn empire the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony have fallen fiercely in love. In a tragic fight between devotion and duty, obsession becomes a catalyst for war.

Ralph Fiennes (The English Patient, James Bond: Spectre) and Sophie Okonedo (Chimerica, Hotel Rwanda) play Shakespeare’s famous fated couple in his great tragedy of politics, passion and power, directed by Simon Godwin

The running time is 3 hours 8mins with a short interval. It is subtitled.

GUIDANCE This filmed performance was given a BBFC rating of 12A (recommended for ages 12 and above) and contains some staged violence and flashing lights.

The full list of cast and creatives is available here: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/si…

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to the National Theatre – or text NTATHOME 10 to 70085 to donate £10 – to enable it to keep its doors open after this crisis has passed.

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Colchester Mercury Theatre’s PIECES OF STRING

PLEASE NOTE: ONLY AVAILABLE UNTIL MIDNIGHT on Friday 8th May BST

To celebrate VE Day 2020, Colchester Mercury proudly present their hit 2018 production, PIECES OF STRING, online. This new British musical, which premiered on the Mercury stage, explores three generations of one family, alternating between the 1940s and the present day, telling the story of a World War II soldier who returned with a secret that he would carry until the day he died.

With hauntingly beautiful music and a heart-rending human story, PIECES OF STRING is a tender, funny, emotionally-charged exploration of how three generations of one family learn to deal with a story that nobody’s been brave enough to tell until today.

Times may have changed but some battles still need to be fought.

Written and composed by Gus Gowland, PIECES OF STRING was developed by Perfect Pitch and co-produced by the Mercury Theatre Colchester and TBO Productions. The musical was a hit with audiences in Colchester and went on to win the Stage Debut Award 2018 for Best Composer or Lyricist and was nominated for Best Musical Theatre Bookwriting – Writers’ Guild of Great Britain and Best Musical Production – UK Theatre Awards.

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to the Mercury Theatre to help it to reopen its doors after this crisis has passed.

Age guidance 14+. Contains adult themes. The show runs approximately two hours.

To watch a trailer for the show, click here

To watch a short interview with the writer/composer, Gus Gowland, click here

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You can find PIECES OF STRING available to rent or as part of a subscription at the Digital Theatre website