The National Theatre’s LES BLANCS

You can soon watch the National Theatre’s production of Lorraine Hansberry’s LES BLANCS, available now until 7pm BST on Thursday July 9th.

An African country teeters on the edge of civil war. A society prepares to drive out its colonial present and claim an independent future. Tshembe, returned home from England for his father’s funeral, finds himself in the eye of the storm.

A brave, illuminating and powerful work that confronts the hope and tragedy of revolution. LES BLANCS was filmed for the National Theatre Archive in 2016.

The show marked the National Theatre debut of the multi-award-winning director Yaël Farber, whose productions include The Crucible (Old Vic) and the internationally acclaimed Mies Julie and Nirbhaya. This production is adapted by Robert Nemiroff and the restored text directed by Joi Gresham.

Presented in memory of Nofenishala Mvotyo, who played friction drum (masengwana) in LES BLANCS and was a preserver of the Xhosa culture, as well as an ambassador of the split-toned, throat deep sounds that normally echo in the mountains of Ngqoko.

Age guidance is 15+ This play is about imperialism, racism, and colonialism and contains scenes of racially motivated violence, that some people may find distressing.

The running time is 2 hours 30 minutes with a very short interval. The show is subtitled.

GUIDANCE: The BBFC rating is 12A with infrequent strong language.

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to the National Theatre – or you can text NTATHOME 10 to 70085 to donate £10 or NTATHOME 20 to donate £20 – to enable it to keep its doors open after this crisis has passed.

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New York Lincoln Center’s FALSETTOS (SingALong version)

Directed for the stage by James Lapine, FALSETTOS centers on the lives of an eclectic, modern family in a hilarious and poignant story of love in its many facets. The production stars Christian Borle, Stephanie J. Block, Andrew Rannells, and Brandon Uranowitz, all of whom received Tony Award nominations for their respective performances. Anthony Rosenthal, Tracie Thoms, and Betsy Wolfe round out the talented cast.

This production was filmed live at the Walter Kerr Theatre in January 2017 for Live From Lincoln Center.

Available In the UK from 1am on Friday, June 26th (in the US, from Thursday 25 June at 8pm ET) and then available on demand for two days (until UK Sunday 28th at 1am – US Saturday 27th at 8pm)

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

You can also donate to Broadway Cares’ COVID-19 efforts here

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Bristol Old Vic’s THE GRINNING MAN

A recording of the original Bristol version of hit musical The Grinning Man is now available online to watch for free for a week.

A strange new act has arrived at the fairground. Who is Grinpayne and how did he get his hideous smile? Helped by an old man, a lone wolf and a blind girl, his story must be told.

The epic tale of an abandoned child with a terrible secret. A disfigured youth who is desperate to hide and a sightless girl who longs to be discovered. Let the darkness seduce you.

Based on The Man Who Laughs by Victor Hugo and brought to life by director Tom Morris (Touching the Void) and writer Carl Grose (Dead Dog in a Suitcase), don’t miss this digital revival, captured during its original Bristol run by TVPP, and featuring a sensational original score by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler and puppetry from Gyre & Gimble – the original puppeteers of War Horse!

First seen at the Bristol Old Vic as part of its 250th anniversary season, the show then transferred to the West End late in 2017 to critical and audience success.

GUIDANCE: Suitable for ages 12+ Contains some sexual references and swearing.

The show lasts approximately two hours. The show is available until Friday 3rd July at 6pm.

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to Bristol Old Vic to enable them to keep operating after this crisis has passed.

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The Bridge Theatre’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM

You can now watch the Bridge Theatre’s magical and immersive production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, available now until 7pm BST on Thursday July 2nd.

‘Are you sure that we are awake? It seems to me that yet we sleep, we dream.’

Gwendoline Christie, Oliver Chris, David Moorst and Hammed Animashaun lead the cast as Titania, Oberon, Puck and Bottom, in Shakespeare’s most famous romantic comedy.

A feuding fairy King and Queen cross paths with four runaway lovers and a troupe of actors trying to rehearse a play. As their dispute grows, the magical royal couple meddle with mortal lives in the forest, to hilarious, but dark, consequences.

The running time is 2 hours 40 minutes with a very short interval.

GUIDANCE: The BBFC rating is 12A with infrequent strong language.

Although this production is free to watch, please strongly consider making a donation to the National Theatre – or you can text NTATHOME 10 to 70085 to donate £10 or NTATHOME 20 to donate £20 – to enable it to keep its doors open after this crisis has passed.

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Listen to HOW SUCCESS RUINED ME: Music Hall Singing Star Fred Barnes Recalled

Christopher Green and Roy Hudd in 2018
Christopher Green as Fred Barnes in his show in development MUSIC HALL MONSTER
One of the songs made famous by Fred Barnes – with a rather ironic title to today’s eyes.

Roy Hudd and Christopher Green discover the perils of applause in a comic conversation at Wilton’s Music Hall, where together they tell the lost story of music hall idol Fred Barnes.

Meet the ‘wavy-haired, blue-eyed Adonis’, singer Fred Barnes, whose hit song, The Black Sheep of The Family, and outrageous appearance both made him a star and were the architects of his downfall. Barnes topped the national circuits in 1911 through into the twenties, and at the height of his fame, he would be seen about town in his trademark white suit and hat, with a pet marmoset on his shoulder.

But Fred’s tragic family history, sudden success and enormous wealth were too hard to handle. His addictions and flamboyant offstage adventures proved his ruin, and after being branded ‘a menace to His Majesty’s fighting forces’, Fred was banned from the stage by his employers.

He fell spectacularly from grace, brought down by a shockingly modern range of addictions: sex, shopping, alcohol, and a need for celebrity. At the pinnacle of his fame in the 1920s he was fabulously wealthy and sported the height of extravagant fashion with a marmoset on his shoulder. He sold his memoir ‘How Success Ruined Me’ to the papers, but by the mid 1930s he was singing for pennies in Southend pubs – now with a chicken perched on his shoulder.

Chris and Roy play out (and argue about, and rewrite) the vital moments from Fred’s private and public life, while reflecting frankly on the perils of applause, addiction and identity in their own performing lives – with jokes, chat and songs.


Roy Hudd, OBE, died in March 2020.

Words and music by Christopher Green
with John Orchard on the piano

Listen to HOW SUCCESS RUINED ME here on BBC iPlayer – Or here on audiomack.com – Or here on Internet Archive