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Shakespeare vs. the Tories, Mel C’s Dance Show, and More

The Importance of Being Oscar
Looking at the stars … Alastair Whatley in The Importance of Being Oscar. Photograph: Marc Brenner

Micheál Mac Liammóir’s 1960 solo show intricately intertwines the private and public lives of Oscar Wilde with excerpts from Wilde’s writings. Alastair Whatley, who directed The Importance of Being Earnest a few years ago, recently brought Mac Liammóir’s monologue to life at Reading Rep. For those who missed it, a recording of the production, directed by Michael Fentiman, is available on Original Online from 1 July.

How Did We Get Here?

Spice Girl Melanie C had always avoided contemporary dance, finding it intimidating. Last year, just before her collaboration with Jules Cunningham and Harry Alexander at Sadler’s Wells, she encouraged audiences to come with an open mind, promising it would make them think. This contemplative piece is now available to view for free until 25 July.

Shakes Against the Machine

In the days leading up to the 4 July general election, Rob Myles and Chronic Insanity theatre company present a web series blending news headlines from the last 14 years of Tory rule with Shakespearean speeches. The series aims to highlight that the challenges we face today are as tragic as those in Shakespeare’s darkest plays.

Bonnie & Clyde: The Musical

Live theatre continues to face difficulties, illustrated by the recent cancellation of a tour for the musical about Depression-era robbers, Bonnie and Clyde, due to poor ticket sales. However, a version filmed at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, featuring Jeremy Jordan and Frances Mayli McCann, is available on demand.

Schwartz Songs

A collection of 16 newly recorded songs from Stephen Schwartz’s extensive career, spanning half a century, is now available. This primer includes three numbers from Godspell, Pippin’s Corner of the Sky, and Meadowlark from The Baker’s Wife, which is about to be revived at Menier Chocolate Factory. Four Elphabas from Wicked — Kerry Ellis, Rachel Tucker, Lucie Jones, and Alice Fearn — perform Defying Gravity.

Hamlet at Elsinore

In a remarkable example of site-specific theatre, the BBC broadcast a film of Hamlet in 1964, shot entirely at Kronborg castle in Denmark. Christopher Plummer starred as Hamlet, with Michael Caine as Horatio. Steven Berkoff, Lindsay Kemp, and the late Donald Sutherland also featured. This film is available on iPlayer.

Starlight Express

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Starlight Express, now playing in a triumphant new version at London’s Troubadour, is an excellent introduction to musicals for children. Yoto, an audio platform with a cheerily designed cube machine that plays “cards,” has released a card featuring Starlight songs from the 1984 production, complete with story explainers and colorful graphics for the machine’s screen.


Amala Dianor, a Franco-Senegalese choreographer and former hip-hop dancer, presents a dynamic hour-long show exploring urban dance styles worldwide. Both competitive and communal, the performance will tour Europe this summer. It’s already available on Arte and YouTube, filmed at the Maison de la Culture in Grenoble.

Till the Stars Come Down

Nottingham playwright Beth Steel continues to rise with her recent work. After the success of The House of Shades at the Almeida, her wedding drama captivated audiences at the National’s Dorfman theatre earlier this year. Bijan Sheibani’s production is now available on NT at Home.

Through the Cracks

Experience drama unfolding beneath your feet with the help of augmented reality. The app, created by Office of Everyone and English Touring Theatre, centers on individuals who have disappeared through the cracks in some way. The first tale, In Time, is a queer romance written by Sonali Bhattacharyya, narrated by Ian McKellen, and starring the talented Sophie Melville. Available now.

Source: Various Sources