The theatres are gearing up to start their new productions. Meanwhile there is still lots of live streamed and as-live entertainment online. Pam O’Toole has been looking at the broad spectrum of material available.
If your idea of fun isn’t spending a cold April night wrapped in blankets in a pub garden, there’s still a lot of online entertainment about. So settle down by your fireside and enjoy some of the best music, theatre, ballet, opera and “in conversation” events coming up over the next month or so. Not forgetting a Blue Badge virtual tour of our very own historic Chiswick, and special online events for kids. Note that, for simplicity’s sake, where possible, ticket prices include booking fees.
Image above: Chiswick House; photograph Jennifer Griffiths
Virtual walking tour
A Stroll through Chiswick, Thursday 15 April, at 6.00pm. If you’ve been reading The Chiswick Calendar over recent months, you’ll see that we’ve featured a lot of famous cultural and historical figures who once lived in our leafy suburb. This week sees the launch of a new online walk which brings some of those stories together. Blue Badge Guide David Mildon starts with Chiswick’s humble beginnings as a cheese farm (Cheese-Wick) moving on to focus on some of the writers, actors and painters who lived here, along with Chiswick’s wartime history. Tickets £11.37 including booking fee.
Glastonbury – Live at Worthy Farm
Booking is now open for what’s usually the hottest musical ticket of the year – Glastonbury. And because this year’s online, you can attend without sleeping on the hard ground, slogging through a mud bath or risking sunstroke. Excellent news for people like me, who loathe camping. The other piece of good news is that tickets are a reasonable £20. The bad news is that instead of being a full weekend of events, it’s only five hours of streaming.
Headliners are Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles, Jorja Smith, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, Wolf Alice and DJ Honey Dijon. Plus a series of “unannounced surprise performances”.
Craig David’s online global livestream of his seminal album Born to Do It. Back in 2000, it held – and apparently still holds – the record for the fastest selling debut album ever by a British male solo act. It spawned no less than four singles. 24 April. Tickets £15.
Ticketmaster streaming events – Music/ festivals
Streaming events on offer range from individual gigs by 80s/90s band Wet Wet Wet (remember the theme from Four Weddings and a Funeral?) and Birdy, to The Great Escape music festival on May 13 and 14. There are also “on demand” recordings, like Dua Lipa’s livestream event from last year, Studio 2054.
Comedy and “at home” events
LAUGH Now Comedy Club
The ‘ LAUGH Now Comedy Club’ stream includes comedy from the likes Reginald D Hunter and Jonathan Pie. Plus there’s the Homecoming: At Home With series, in which various celebs, (eg Paul Chowdhry and Becky Hill) show you around their homes to raise money for their favourite charities.
Monday Night at the Apollo
Three concerts to support the struggling theatre industry on May 24, 14 June and 5 July. Monday Night at the Apollo (the West End Apollo Theatre, not the Hammersmith one) brings together some of the West End’s best performers for an evening of conversation and song. Ten per cent of all ticket sales will be donated to Acting for Others, an umbrella organisation for 14 theatrical charities.
The Kindling Hour: Online sleuthing – gaming meets theatre
This online game by Swamp Motel challenges your team to infiltrate a dark organisation with the aim of bringing it down, while staying one step ahead of the enemy. Described as “immersive entertainment that blurs the boundaries between theatre, film and gaming”, it’s not cheap – £65 for a group ticket. However, that’s for a team of between 2-6 people.
It comes with excellent reviews – The Guardian describes it as “Arthurian legend meets Hitchcockian thrills” while The Stage says it’s “Brilliantly creepy”. Until 30 May.
Stream.theatre has built up an impressive stable of productions; now handily subdivided into categories like drama, musicals, concerts and documentaries.
Their “Irish Rep” section includes a production of The Weir, an award-winning ghost story which has been described as “a modern classic”. The Weir is filmed remotely, and luckily, given that the Irish Rep company is based in New York, is available to watch on demand from 3-9 May. So no time differences to worry about. Tickets £18.
It’s the 1980s and a gay man, diagnosed as HIV positive, is told he has (at most) four years to live. At the end of this four year countdown, he embarks on a hedonistic night of farewells in London’s Soho…and then survives. Based on a true story. Rollercoaster musical with 1980s soundtrack.
15-25 April. Tickets £15.
Eurobeat: The Pride of Europe
Describing itself as a “loving send up” of Eurovision, this musical features West End stars, drag queens, power ballads and “outrageous” dance routines. The premise is that the tiny principality of Liechtenstein is paying homage to this contest, reflecting “quirky, colourful and camp Europe”. You get to vote for your favourite songs. Filmed at the Clapham Grand, it’s streamed from 30 April – 10 May, with a with a special results show streaming from 14-18 May.
A Killer Party
Developed in the US during lockdown last year, this new musical detective story has been adapted for the UK and filmed in actors’ homes. A failed West end actor and artistic director of a small regional theatre calls a read-through of his latest murder-mystery play. But the cast arrive with more than theatre on their minds. The artistic director ends up face-down in his soup, and the detective work begins. Nine episodes, on demand from 26 April to 23 May.
The entire series costs £25, or £2.99 per episode.
Stream is also re-releasing Little Wars, a rehearsed reading with an all-female cast, headed by the amazing Juliet Stevenson, in aid of Women for Refugee Women. On the fall of France in 1940, feminist icons Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas host Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Agatha Christie to dinner. Well worth watching.
April 19-25 and then on demand from 26 April-16 May. Tickets £13.
Starring Tyger Drew-Honey (Outnumbered) and Kirsten Foster. A thriller with themes of revenge and redemption. Suitable only for ages 15+ as it contains a descriptions of an act of violence, self-harm and psychological trauma. Live from the Jermyn St Theatre for three nights only, 30 April – 1 May
Early bird tickets £12.50 before 23 April, thereafter £15.
Theatre and filmed productions for kids
Watermans Arts Centre – FREE
Dinosaurs and all that Rubbish is a theatrical/animation/musical production based on the classic picture book by Michael Foreman. Its themes include space travel, dinosaurs and the need for ecological balance. It’s in three episodes. Suitable for ages 3+. Until 31 October
The Old Vic: Dr Seuss’s The Lorax
This Olivier-award winning adaptation has been transformed into a smaller, semi-staged version suitable for anyone over the age of six. The production marks 50 years since the first publication of The Lorax, but its ecological message resonates just as strongly today. 14-17 April.
Tickets from £10.
Sleep Squad from Story Pirates is an American interactive musical production suitable for ages 4-12, starring Tony Award nominee Lilli Cooper. She’s the Dream Queen, pilot of the spaceship Ariem. It launches kids into the Slumber Galaxy on three different missions as they train to become members of the Sleep Squad—an elite group of the world’s most advanced dreamers. Sleep Squad hopefuls are sent into space to explore stories adapted from real kids’ dreams along with the co-pilot of their choice (their favourite stuffed animal, blanket or toy).
Tickets £14. Can be enjoyed as one 45 minute experience, or in three chunks. And you can also buy a “travel kit” for your kids.
Opera and ballet
Free Opera from the New York Met
Each day a different production from the Met’s Live in HD series is being made available for free streaming. The schedule includes performances from the past 14 years of cinema transmissions, starring some of opera’s greatest singers.
To some extent the timetable is, obviously, American – each performance becomes available from 7.30pm EDT (2.30pm BST), which isn’t exactly convenient if you’re working. BUT it’s then available for the next 23 hours, so you can still view it in the evening, UK-time.
The Met is also offering paid on-demand broadcasts.
The Royal Opera House
The Seven Deadly Sins and Mahagonny Songspiel
Led by a young cast, Kurt Weill/Berthold Brecht’s collaborative productions have been produced with streaming in mind. Until 9 May. £10
Symphonic Variations: – Frederick Ashton ballet from 1946, celebrated as one of his finest works. Until May 2. £3
Concerto: short (30 minute) ballet by Kenneth MacMillan set to Shostakovich’s Piano Concerto No 2 in F. Until 25 April. £3.
The Dream: Frederick Ashton’s ballet version of a Midsummer Night’s Dream, set to the music of Mendelssohn. Until 18 April. £3
Free on BBC iPlayer
A new RoH production of Fidelio, Beethoven’s only opera. Available until 25 July.
Sadler’s Wells/ BBC iPlayer
Dancing Nation, a festival of dance recorded at London’s Sadler’s Wells, is available in across several programmes. It ranges from modern classics to “bold new works” and from big-name artists to breakthrough talent.
Perhaps the best known might be Matthew Bourne’s Spitfire – his first hit before the all-male Swan Lake. This amusing 11 minute ballet “sees the most famous 19th century ballet showstopper, Pas De Quatre, transported to the world of men’s underwear advertising. “
Affordable online art fair
Go shopping for art online. This event brings you artworks from 50 hand-picked galleries from cities like London, Hong Kong, New York, LA, Barcelona, Hamburg and thousands of artworks ranging from £50 to £6,000.
9 April – 3 May
“In Conversation” events
Fane Online is continuing its run of celebs “in conversation”. Last week’s livestreams included a fun evening with (long-time friends) Dame Maggie Smith and outspoken Hollywood film star Kathleen Turner. That’s now available on demand until 8 May. Later this month come separate events featuring chef Raymond Blanc, actor/singer David Soul and co-stars of Last Tango in Halifax, Anne Reid and Sir Derek Jacobi.
On May 2 comes a slightly different offering; An Afternoon with the Bletchley Girls. This brings together two of the few remaining women who worked at the famous code-breaking site, Bletchley Park, whose work was said to have shortened World War II by several years. £11.
Booker Prize Shortlist readings
Meet the authors on this year’s shortlist and hear readings from their works. 30 May – then available online for a further seven days.
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
See also: Music events listings for Chiswick 2021
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