|Simon Russell Beale in Timon of Athens|
NT Live is getting better
Date: 3 November 2012
I first attended an NT Live screening in May, 2011 when I saw Danny Boyle's Frankenstein at the Cornerhouse in Manchester. I really enjoyed the production but like 3D cinema there were some irritating factors which did slightly impede my enjoyment.
Since then I have seen The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time and Timon of Athens and the whole concept has really grown on me. For £15 you get the best seat in the house and you see aspects of the play that may not be lucky enough to see - if you purchase a ticket. That's if you can get a ticket in the first place - as on many occasions - these screenings are for sold our productions.
When the Cornerhouse moves to its new Home and shares it's space with the Library Theatre, I am hoping that they will cover the intervals better. At the moment - many members of the audience run across the road to the nearest supermarket and come back armed with ice cream. This could be sold on the premises and make the venue more money and will be far more convenient for the patrons.
There are also really corny and embarrassing interludes featuring Emma Freud gushing endlessly about how 'wonderful and amazing' the new season is. One particularly galling moment occurs when she speaks to Nicholas Hynter and stops reading from her clip board and gets things wrong. If it's pre-recorded why not edit it? And why do we need plot recaps, and elements of the narrative explained? This does patronise the audience as something like Timon of Athens is incredibly accessible anyway.
The constant coughing of the audience is also distracting but I'm not sure what you could about that - other than have eject a seats installed ala James Bond.
Otherwise - NT Live is a great addition to our cinemas and a great way of getting audiences to experience great British theatre. I have really enjoyed the three productions I have seen and I will definitely go again. I'll just have to switch off when Emma Freud runs on, starts waxing lyrical and using phrases like "This play has had critical praise poured upon it." Most people who have attended have read the reviews - that's why they're here.
- by Glenn Meads
Any opinions expressed above do not represent the view of Whatsonstage.com nor any of its staff or contributors beyond the bylined author.
|Glenn has covered the Manchester theatre scene for Whatsonstage.com since 2001. Since then he has edited whatsonstage.com/manchester and he currently edits the North West site, as well as providing news, reviews, features and competitions.|
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