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Digital Theatre

November 13, 2013

Nobody can see everything, and sometimes you’d love a record of a show you’ve enjoyed… in other words, I often sit in the theatre / scan listings and wish there was a legal recording available of a production. Of course there are “bootlegs” of most shows floating about, but they aren’t legal and are by all accounts, not all that clear.

Anyway, for several years have been professionally filming everything from Shakespeare to musicals, and making them available to rent or buy via online download. In fact, they are so successful that they are now even using their skills to project shows into cinemas for special “one off” presentations. “Merrily We Roll Along” being the most recent triumph.

With the recent lousy weather, I’ve been binging a bit on their output too. First up, “Into The Woods” – the 2010 Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre smash hit. A brave attempt at moving that huge event onto a tiny screen. While you can’t get the scale of sitting in the front row watching the original, it’s a happy reminder of something very special – and they even capture that nervous twitch in “Giants In The Sky.”

In more conventional auditoria, and interestingly linked to Regent’s Park again in that the park will do the play “All My Sons” in 2014, the 2010 Suchet / Wanamaker version is what Digital Theatre was invented for. The small stage, studied characters and shocking tale are totally involving and to have it recorded for posterity is a delight.

Finally, the most downloaded (according to DigitalTheatre) play they have, the famous “Much Ado About Nothing” with David Tennant and Catherine Tate from 2011. One I missed, and I’m now so sad that I didn’t see it live. A tricky set that the cameras capture brilliantly, the hilarious flying scene is a classic on its own. Wasted on school classes who get a teacher lazy enough to leave them to watch it without explanation, but a crazily powerful tool if a teacher uses it correctly. If classes –or indeed anyone isn’t inspired to love Shakespeare after this one, nothing will do it.

There’s plenty more in the vaults –  this year’s West End hits “A Doll’s House” and “Beautiful Thing” I’ve got my eye on, and a lot more. The future for me really could be Digital…

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