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Colchester Mercury adds musical premiere to West End streaming treats

PUBLISHED: 16:28 07 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:52 08 May 2020

Daniel Radcliffe will be reading the opening chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to help beat lockdown boredom    Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

Daniel Radcliffe will be reading the opening chapter of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to help beat lockdown boredom Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

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Streaming as live theatre continues to draw massive audiences. Last week’s National Theatre broadcast of Frankenstein had two million views in five days. Here is a selection of the latest attractions from our theatres, galleries and dance companies

Pieces of String

When: Friday May 8 from 10am to 11:59pm

Where: Mercury Theatre webpage

The premiere of the musical Pieces of String in 2018 was one of the highlights of the Colchester Mercury’s Made in Colchester series of plays unveiled over the past five years and now we all have an opportunity to revisit this wonderful new show to mark the anniversary of VE Day.

The Mercury Theatre will be screening this touching and uplifting musical, free of charge, from 10am until the end of the day. Pieces of String was a huge commercial and critical hit when it originally ran for three weeks on the Colchester stage.

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 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.

The show 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 which demonstrate that although times may have changed but some battles still need to be fought.

Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone:

When: Daily

Where: Wizarding World website

Daniel Radcliffe and various other acting luminaries take in turns to read a chapter each of JK Rowling’s debut novel. Other readers will include Noma Dumezweni (who originated the role of Hermione in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child), Eddie Redmayne (who starred in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Stephen Fry (who read the official Harry Potter audiobooks), Claudia Kim (who played Nagini in The Crimes of Grindelwald), Dakota Fanning and David Beckham. More guest readers will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The video of the stars reading the various chapters will be interspersed with illustrations supplied by Harry Potter fans. Details how to contribute your artwork can be found on the Wizarding World – Harrry Potter at Home website.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Shows Must Go On

When: Friday May 8 at 7pm and then available for 48 hours

Where: The Shows Must Go On webpage

Andrew Lloyd Webber unveils one of his lesser known shows, By Jeeves, a collaboration with legendary playwright Alan Ayckbourn.

Starring Martin Jarvis and John Scherer, the show is based on P G Woodhouse’s classic characters, Jeeves and Wooster. The streamed show will be available free, will be of the 2001 production, which ran on Broadway after the original show was rewritten.

The show premiered on April 22, 1975 at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London, and ran for only a month. After rewrites, the show was produced in 1996 in both London and America, before finally arriving on Broadway in 2001.

Two Noble Kinsmen

When: Daily until May 17

You may also want to watch:

Where: The Globe’s YouTube Channel

William Shakespeare’s last play and written in collaboration with contemporary writer John Fletcher who succeeded Shakespeare as the lead dramatist with The King’s Men. The play takes its plot from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and was published in 1634.

The play is not often performed, so the Globe Theatre’s decision to make their 2018 production available on YouTube is a wonderful opportunity to finally enjoy this rare piece of classic tragi-comedy.

Matt Henry appears in this caper-like staging of the story of two warring lovers battling to woo the same woman. This lighthearted re-telling of the story delighted audiences at the Globe and makes for perfect viewing on a relaxed summer’s evening.

The Tempest

When: Daily

Where: BBC i-player

Roger Allam stars as Prospero in this 2013 staging of this magical play. With a spirit of the supernatural, The Tempest is a story of forgiveness, generosity and enlightenment set on a remote and mysterious desert island. With enchantments and treachery at every turn, will anyone ever make it off?

This production by The Globe utilized authentic Renaissance costumes and staging and features Colin Morgan as ethereal sprite Ariel.

Mixing humour with a dark atmosphere and a frequently mysterious backstory, The Tempest is Shakespeare last great masterpiece before retirement took him back to Stratford. All Shakespeare’s obsessions for this one last wander through a magical landscape.

Michael Clark’s Simple Rock’n’Roll Song

When: Daily

Where: BBC i-player

The latest dance work by groundbreaking choreographer Michael Clark. Acclaimed by audiences and critics alike, the London Evening Standard called the production ‘an adrenaline shot that sends you away buzzing’.

The triple bill pays homage to three of Clark’s greatest musical influences. Act 1 features commanding choreography, pulsating with a propulsive force to the punk rock of Patti Smith’s landmark album, Horses. Act 2 is a reflection on Erik Satie and his influence on Clark’s mentors past and present, the dance meticulous, minimalist and coolly refined. Act 3 is an iridescent tribute to David Bowie, intricate, sublime, the mood moving from elegiac to joyously rebellious.

Recorded at the Barbican, London in 2017, this Olivier Award-nominated production features gorgeously arresting choreography performed by a company of fearless dancers including Harry Alexander, who won the Critics’ Circle ‘Emerging Artist’ National Dance Award in 2017.

The production also features a stage adaptation by Charles Atlas - long-time collaborator with Michael Clark - of his multi-channel video installation Painting by Numbers.

This production features an introduction from Jarvis Cocker, who credits Michael Clark with introducing him to the world of dance.

Museums in Quarantine

When: Daily

Where: BBC i-player

A four part series which allows viewers to go behind the scenes at four of Britain’s greatest galleries: the British Museum, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

During the programmes Simon Schama takes a look at young Rembrandt, Dr James Fox argues that we all need art in our lives, Art historian Dr Janina Ramirez takes a personal wander through the British Museum’s stores while Alastair Sooke gains backstage access to the latest Andy Warhol exhibition.


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