It seems that cinema is going through some kind of resurgence. Classics are being dusted down and re-filmed, and thanks to the wondrous nature of new technology theatre can even be streamed to your local movie house. I went to see The Kitchen by Arnold Wesker, part of the NT Live programme. It was an odd but exhilarating experience.
I don’t know about you but I still get a buzz of excitement before curtain up – even now when it’s part of my job. The same was true as I sat in Ashford’s Cineworld last autumn waiting with anticipation among a mixed audience. The play and the players were brilliant – but I was disappointed to discover that the camera was not static, focussed on the stage but followed the actors, film-style.
Still, if you can get over this minor irritation, the programme gives everybody the chance to see brilliant work locally. I’m not sure it’s any cheaper than a theatre ticket these days (I paid £12.50 for my seat at Cineworld) but it’s a great experience, nevertheless. I was bugged by a surprising concern – do you clap at the end? Answers on a postcard please!
Coming up in the season is Lenny Henry in The Comedy of Errors in March.This is the second Shakespeare the popular comedian has tackled, with much acclaim, and the play is a real delight. On March 29, it is the turn of She Stoops To Conquer, starring among others, former Coronation Street’s favourite Katherine Kelly.
In mainstream theatre there is plenty to watch out for. Having seen the trailers on the telly box, The Woman in Black looks like it will be a bit of thriller. Daniel Radcliffe seems to be effortlessly making the transition from child star to adult actor and is one to watch as he takes on the role of Arthur Kipps in Susan Hill’s perennial, adapted for the screen by Jane Goldman. Watch out for the interesting debate on whether the film stays true to the stage version!
War Horse has been the subject of this debate – as we all know, Michael Morpurgo’s wonderful tale has been given the full Steven Spielberg treatment. But isn’t it good to have a proper, classic, sweeping weepie in the cinemas, knowing full well that the novel is naturally told in a more prosaic way? I’ll leave you to ponder that one.
Other releases planned this year are Streetdance 2, ready for the summer hols, a new version of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina starring Keira Knightley and Jude Law in a Tom Stoppard adaptation due out in September plus Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi is going to be filmed in 3D. That’s one to look forward to at Christmas. And don’t forget to book Richard II (dir Rupert Goold) and Great Expectations (dir Mike Newell) coming up soon.