Ten of the best shows, concerts and more to enjoy online in the coming days
Les Blancs, National Theatre Live, streaming July 2 to 9, free
Directed by Yaël Farber, this powerful play by Lorraine Hansberry confronts the hope and tragedy of revolution when a family and a post-colonial African nation fall apart under the pressure to determine their own identity. The cast includes Danny Sapani (Medea, Black Panther, Killing Eve), Siân Phillips (People, Clash of the Titans) and Tunji Kasim (Network, Antony & Cleopatra).
Where to watch: The National Theatre’s YouTube channel
Great Bowen Music Fest, July 9 to 12, free
The Leicestershire event has a devoted following - and it’s heading online this year, allowing even more people to enjoy its many delights. There will be 12 online ‘concerts’ covering a wide range of music, including an afternoon with Prokofiev, Friday night musicals, Sam Rodwell on guitar, jazz favourites and even a Saturday Ceilidh.
Where to watch: greatbowdenmusicfest.com
Twelfth Night - Live!, The Maltings, St Albans, July 3 and 10, 8.15pm, tickets £10
Back by popular demand, Twelfth Night – Live premiered on Zoom over three nights last month and was a complete sell-out, winning acclaim from audiences and critics. This highly entertaining version of one of the Bard’s most loved romantic comedies is set on a luxury cruise liner at the height of the Roaring Twenties. The ten actors welcome their Zoom audience on board the glamorous SS Illyria for its maiden voyage where the action takes place amid singing and dancing and much audience participation. Expect music by everyone from Britney Spears to Radiohead.
Where to watch: maltingstheatre.co.uk/twelfthnight
Mood Music, The Old Vic, London, streaming from July 8, free
Mood Music is a timely new play about power, passion and the price of creativity, written by Joe Penhall (Sunny Afternoon, Blue/Orange) and directed by Roger Michell (Notting Hill, Enduring Love). Behind its seductive and glamorous veneer, the music industry has a dark side. Whether it’s bitter legal battles fought by the likes of George Michael, Kesha and Tulisa, or the lost lives of Amy Winehouse and Chris Cornell, the price of fame and success can be brutal. In a top London recording studio, Cat, a young songwriter, her producer Bernard, their lawyers and psychotherapists go to battle over who owns a hit song. Amidst a gathering storm of bitter complaints and recriminations Cat and Bernard inflict a devastating toll on each other.This archive production was performed in 2018.
Where to watch: The Old Vic channel on YouTube
La bohème, Royal Opera House, London, July 3, 7pm, free
Richard Jones’s production of Puccini’s La bohème tells the story of Rodolfo, a poet, and Mimì, a seamstress, who fall in love but whose happiness is threatened by Mimì’s illness. With designs by Stewart Laing, the 2017 recording stars Nicole Car as Mimì, Michael Fabiano as Rodolfo, Mariusz KwiecieÅ„ as Marcello and Simona Mihai as Musetta. The Orchestra of the Royal Opera House and the Royal Opera Chorus are conducted by Antonio Pappano.
Where to watch: The Royal Opera House YouTube channel
Lungs, Old Vic, London, streaming until July 4, £10 to £65
There’s still time to catch this innovative lockdown hit, in which Claire Foy and Matt Smith perform a socially distanced version of Duncan Macmillan’s comical and emotional play about a couple wrestling with life’s biggest dilemmas, live from the Old Vic. Each performance of Lungs will be available for up to 1,000 people per night with some matinees, replicating its usual audience capacity size. Tickets will be priced as they are in the auditorium from £10 to £65 and, while all ‘seats’ offer the same view from the comfort of your own home, the theatre is asking audiences to give what they can to support the venue.
Where to watch: oldvictheatre.com
7 FILM, CIRCUS AND MUSIC
Illuminations, Britten Pears Arts, streaming until July 11, free
It’s the first time audiences online have been given the chance to watch the film Illuminations, blending the music of Benjamin Britten with spectacular circus artistry. The piece opened the 2017 Aldeburgh Festival, was directed by Struan Leslie and performed by soprano Sarah Tynan, Aurora Orchestra and an ensemble of international circus artists.
Where to watch: The Britten Pears Arts YouTube Channel
Nicola Benedetti, Royal Albert Hall, July 4, 7.30pm
Violinist Nicola Benedetti will share stories and music straight from her home during lockdown as part of the Royal Albert Home sessions. Nicola is among the most sought-after violinists of her generation. She won the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Classical Instrumental Solo, and was named Best Female Artist at both the 2012 and 2013 Classical BRIT Awards. Nicola has played the Hall on numerous occasions, including the 2012 Last Night of the Proms as well as two headline concerts.
Where to watch: royalalberthall.com
work_from_home, New Diorama Theatre, July 3, 7pm and 8.30pm, free but tickets required
Zoom has been one of the defining features of the lockdown – and this is one of the best examples yet of its theatrical potential being realised. work_from_home is an interactive play performed entirely by participants on a Zoom call, about when things stop working. It is an entirely new, digital, interactive adaptation of Nathan Ellis’ play work.txt, which was nominated for an Innovation Award at Vault Festival 2020. The organisers say: “You will log on, you will do nothing, you will contribute, you will be essential.” The show promises to be a treat even for those who feel entirely Zoomed-out by work over the past few months.
Where to watch: newdiorama.com (performances will take place on Zoom)
The Four Seasons, New English Ballet Theatre, streaming now, free
Commissioned by New English Ballet Theatre in 2017, this bold, stylish, contemporary ballet is being performed to Max Richter’s dynamic recomposition of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons.
Where to watch: The New English Ballet Theatre channel on YouTube