In the realm of digital entertainment, the stage comes alive with a plethora of captivating performances that transcend physical boundaries. From the revival of Polly Stenham’s explosive debut play to a foot-tapping folk musical and a gripping exploration of online extremism, here’s our curated selection of stage shows available for at-home viewing.
1. “That Face” – A Fiery Family Drama
Polly Stenham’s acclaimed family drama, “That Face,” takes center stage in its first major revival. Initially making waves at London’s Royal Court in 2007, the Orange Tree’s production, led by the talented Niamh Cusack, has garnered five-star reviews. Available on demand from October 10 to 13, it promises a compelling exploration of familial dynamics.
2. “Ursa: A Folk Musical” – A Tale of Transformation
Embark on a musical journey with Toronto’s The Uncommon Folk Collective as they present “Ursa: A Folk Musical.” This heartwarming narrative delves into the transformative power of new connections, using the unlikely encounter between a lonely bear and a teenage girl as its focal point. Stratfest@Home brings this foot-tapping account of grizzly adolescence to your screens.
3. “The Dance” – A Richly Atmospheric Experience
Michael Keegan-Dolan’s atmospheric “Mám,” originally staged at Sadler’s Wells in 2020, returns to the digital stage this month. Dive into the behind-the-scenes world of the show with Pat Collins’ documentary, providing a unique perspective on a performance deeply rooted in the landscape of the Dingle peninsula. “The Dance” is set to captivate audiences starting October 3.
4. “Death of England” – A Sprawling Theatrical Saga
What began as a nine-minute microplay has evolved into a sprawling saga across the National Theatre’s stages and a Sky Arts film. Roy Williams and Clint Dyer’s “Death of England” series continues this month with “Closing Time” at the NT, offering a powerful exploration of contemporary issues. Witness all six microplays online for a nuanced theatrical experience.
5. “The Believers Are But Brothers” – Navigating Online Extremism
Questing theatremaker Javaad Alipoor takes audiences on a thought-provoking journey through the world of online extremism and misogyny. Filmed in Manchester in 2017, “The Believers Are But Brothers” is a captivating exploration of knotty issues that blur the lines between the personal and the political. Available on Digital Theatre.
6. “Matthew Bourne’s Nutcracker!” – A Festive Fantasia
Get ready for a visually stunning journey with Matthew Bourne’s festive fantasia, “Nutcracker!” This eye-popping performance, available on BBC iPlayer until the year’s end, skates through darkness and daftness, creating a sweet-toothed winter wonderland. Indulge in the nuttiness and cracking spectacle of this holiday treat.
7. “Macbeth” – A Shakespearean Classic
Experience the timeless tragedy of “Macbeth” with stellar performances from Ralph Fiennes and David Tennant. Patrick Stewart’s explosive Rupert Goold production, filmed at Welbeck Abbey in Nottinghamshire, takes center stage on Prime Video. Sixteen years since its debut, the production promises a gripping rendition of the Scottish play.
8. “Maison Mac” – A Queer Concept Musical
Adding a unique twist to the tale of Macbeth, “Maison Mac” presents a queer concept musical set in a professional kitchen. With lyrics and book by Sam Woof and music by Woof and Rudy Percival, this EP offers a thrilling reframing of the tragedy. Available on various platforms, it adds a new dimension to the classic narrative.
9. Dance Umbrella – London’s Dynamic Dance Festival
London’s dynamic Dance Umbrella festival invites audiences to a series of online films. From Trajal Harrell’s “O Medea” to Ioanna Paraskevopoulou’s creatively titled “All She Likes Is Popping Bubble Wrap,” the festival promises a diverse range of dance experiences. Join Jade Hackett for a reflection as part of the Black Digital Dance Revolution. Access the entire online program with a pay-what-you-can digital pass from October 6 to 31.
10. “Othello” – National Theatre’s 60th Birthday Celebration
As London’s National Theatre marks its 60th birthday, it offers a gift to audiences worldwide with a free stream of its acclaimed 2022 production of “Othello.” Starring Giles Terera in the titular role and featuring Chloe Lamford’s bold set design, this rendition, directed by Clint Dyer, is available on YouTube from 7 pm on October 19.
In a world where the stage meets the screen, these diverse performances beckon audiences to explore the rich tapestry of theatrical storytelling from the comfort of home. Whether it’s the intense family dynamics of “That Face” or the online exploration in “The Believers Are But Brothers,” these shows promise to captivate, provoke thought, and offer a glimpse into the multifaceted world of contemporary theatre.