Revisit the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Tempest and dive into the Russian revival of Uncle Vanyaby Michael Coveney / March 30, 2020 / Leave a comment
Self-isolating choices in theatre could come from old DVDs, but only Digital Theatre offers extraordinary and surprising performances recorded “live” on stage that you can download instantly through either a subscription or a one-off 48-hour rental. The RSC’s 2016 Tempest was co-produced in Stratford-upon-Avon with Intel and Imaginarium Studios, self-proclaimed “pioneers of cyber-thespianism.” The result is visually stunning, technically original and well suited to a play of dreams, magic and masques, with Simon Russell Beale as a complex, ambivalent and beautifully spoken Prospero.
This sensational Russian revival played a season in the West End eight years ago. It was subsequently filmed on stage in Moscow, with English subtitles at the theatre founded in 1921 by Yevgeny Vakhtangov. We have seen this kind of theatre from Yuri Lyubimov’s Taganka, or Robert Sturua’s Rustaveli: comic, hard edged and expressive of the soul of a nation. No British Chekhov comes close.
A real collector’s item, this performance from five years ago saw Sheridan Smith on stage at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, at the end of a national tour after seasons at the Menier Chocolate Factory and the West End. Smith does something quirky and impish with Fanny Brice, immortalised on film by Barbra Streisand, and re-energises the great music and lyrics of Jule Styne and Bob Merrill in their 1964 vaudevillian fable.