Most popular posts of 2020

The-Show-Must-Go-Online

Against all odds, Mind the Blog managed to gather very nearly the same amount of hits in 2020 as it did in 2019 – considering the fact that theatres were only open for about a quarter of the year, and that I became too knackered to put many new posts out from the autumn onwards, I think that’s a great result. So thank you for reading!

I was possibly more obsessed than ever with stats in 2020, so here come the most popular 20 posts of the year…

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20. The Show Must Go Online: Henry VI, part two
Exit Joan of Arc and enter Jack Cade, as The Show Must Go Online barrels from Henry VI, part one straight into Henry VI, part two. Commonly viewed as the best instalment of this particular trilogy, and with the largest collection of characters in all of Shakespeare’s plays, the production was billed with this description: “Illicit affairs. Irish rebellion. Murders. Battles. Black magic. Pirates. THAT Richard.” What more could you possibly ask for? Read more…

19. Wish list: National Theatre At Home
Following on from the instant success of the first National Theatre At Home streaming event on Thursday night (Richard Bean’s One Man, Two Guvnors, starring James Corden), it’s got me thinking about all the other wonderful NT Live screenings that I’d love to come to the small screen as part of this series. Over the next few weeks we will be treated to Jane EyreTreasure Island, and Twelfth Night – but what should come after that? Read more…

18. The Show Must Go Online: “Very proud of our 50/50 gender split and diverse casting”
People get incredibly excited about casting announcements, but very rarely do they trace things back to the people who put these casts together. The tide now may (finally) be turning, however, as several awards ceremonies now have added prizes for casting – such as BAFTA in both its film and television awards (Shayna Markowitz winning for Joker, and Des Hamilton winning for Top Boy). Theatre’s most high profile awards – the Oliviers – has yet to follow suit. Read more…

17. The Show Must Go Online: “It’s a real community that uplifts and supports each other”
I may be woefully behind on my show write-ups (thanks, day job!), but I couldn’t not mark The Show Must Go Online coming to an end – at least until further notice. It’s also Love Theatre Day today, so it would have been remiss of me not to do something in honour of that; just because buildings have closed doesn’t mean theatre has gone – for me (thanks to TSMGO) theatre has been ever-present throughout 2020. Your move, ALW! Read more…

The Company MACBETH 2020 Lazarus Theatre Company Photographer Adam Trigg
Macbeth
Photo credit: Adam Trigg

16. Macbeth (Lazarus Theatre)
“All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” Power and glory loom large in Lazarus Theatre‘s new production of the Scottish Play, with the associated pageantry punctuating the beginning, middle & end. This particular Shakespeare play has proved very popular over recent months, its eventually tyrannical title character and the ensuing civil war clearly striking a chord in these troubled times. Read more…

15. The Show Must Go Online: Richard II
After a bit of a break, The Show Must Go Online was firmly back in history mode last week, as it was time for the beginning of Shakespeare’s second tetralogy in Richard II. Not quite as much bloodshed as the previous set of histories that we’ve seen – more posturing and challenging than anything – and so not too much of a jolt from the previous week’s Love’s Labour’s LostRead more…

14. The Show Must Go Online: “Exactly what the world needs right now”
Never have the words “all the world’s a stage” felt more apt. Thanks to initiatives such as The Show Must Go Online, global audiences are getting the chance to connect with Shakespeare in a way they never have before. When faced with the closure of theatres across the world, it seemed unfathomable that brand new productions could be mounted – let alone involving people living thousands of miles apart – but here we are, nine Shakespeares & two Pop Shakespeares down the line, and only growing in imagination. Read more…

13. The Show Must Go Online: Henry VI, part one
Before George Lucas, there was William Shakespeare. And before Game of Thrones, there were the Henry VI plays. You might presume that all of the history plays were written in chronological order, but Shakespeare in actual fact began with Henry VI and came back to his other Henriad later (much like the original Star Wars trilogy eventually being rebranded as episodes 4, 5 & 6 when Lucas released the prequels) – and all sandwiched by Richard II & Richard III. This is why The Show Must Go Online leapt from The Taming of the Shrew right into the histories this week. Read more…

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The Script
Photo credit: Shoot The Sound

12. The Script: Sunsets & Full Moons (O2 Arena)
Three Irishmen walk into the O2 Arena… No, this isn’t a setup for a terrible dad joke, but a description of my Saturday night! I’ve been trying to go to more gigs over the past couple of years, as music has been in my life a lot longer than theatre but I’ve managed to let it fall by the wayside a bit – so when I spotted that The Script were playing the O2 (a short bus ride from where I live) and that there was a reasonably priced ticket available, I thought there was no reason not to go. I’ll be completely honest, I had rather lost track of them since #3 and didn’t realise they’d doubled their album count since then – I just booked on a whim after they happened to tweet while I was perusing my timeline. Read more…

11. Elton John: It’s A Little Bit Funny
What would you do if you go the chance to meet your all-time hero? That’s exactly what crossed Martin Kaye’s mind as he was effectively Elton John’s neighbour when the pair found themselves performing in Las Vegas a few years ago – Kaye as Jerry Lee Lewis in Million Dollar Quartet and John in The Million Dollar Piano. The result of this wondering is a new show written by Chris Burgess and led by Martin Kaye & his band, Elton John: It’s A Little Bit Funny, currently running at Upstairs at the Gatehouse before heading to the Radlett Centre and the Hope Mill Theatre. Read more…

10. Isolation Ensemble: “Your sense of connection to your fellow actors is still very much present”
In times of adversity, creativity doesn’t grind to a complete halt – how else do you think theatre has survived since its birth in Ancient Greece over 2,500 years ago? Instead it adapts to the conditions in which it finds itself, making the most of the options available. In the case of the coronavirus crisis, online technologies have helped to facilitate the growth of a new medium and give voices to the many who may have expected to find themselves out in the cold when everything went dark. Read more…

9. Viper Squad
CtrlAltRepeat are back! Following on from their hugely successful Sherlock Holmes mystery (Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Symmetric Mailshot), the team have devised a brand new piece of interactive Zoom theatre (based on an original story from James Dillon) which takes participants back to 1988 – the hair is big, cocktail umbrellas are compulsory, and the Viper Squad have another case to crack. Read more…

8. The Show Must Go Online: “Imagine the heat Macbeth would get for killing Sir Patrick Stewart!”
Hopefully, by now you’re familiar with the phenomenon that is The Show Must Go Online. The project was put together in a week in response to the COVID-19 crisis, which has seen theatres shut down and left actors & creatives out of work. They are working their way through Shakespeare’s repertoire of 37 plays, in the order it is believed they were written; so far we have seen The Two Gentlemen of VeronaThe Taming of the ShrewHenry VI parts onetwo & three, and Titus Andronicus. It has been brought together by Robert Myles (director) and Sarah Peachey (producer) – each week the team grows and the productions develop into bigger spectacles. Read more…

7. The Show Must Go Online: “Every single week gets more inventive!”
Last night was a first for The Show Must Go Online, as they welcomed back alumni from previous shows in the series for this week’s production of Richard III. I think I speak for most (if not all) of the regular audience members when I say that we’ve become rather attached to the team and all those who tread the virtual boards as part of the brilliant casts of each play – so I thought it would be good to hear from some of the familiar faces who made their return this week. Read more…

6. The Show Must Go Online: The Taming of the Shrew
The Show Must Go Online last week kicked off with The Two Gentlemen of Verona to great acclaim, and this week went headlong into the potentially problematic The Taming of the Shrew. I say ‘potentially’ because things are obviously a bit different now, compared with attitudes in Shakespeare’s time – but just because he’s written a play where a woman is ‘tamed’ doesn’t necessarily mean he endorses it. There’s a lot up for grabs with the right direction. Read more…

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5. The Show Must Go Online: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
I’m afraid Shakespeare in Love got it wrong on several counts – one of which is demonstrated here by The Show Must Go Online swiftly following up Romeo & Juliet with the perennially popular A Midsummer Night’s Dream. On paper a straightforward leap from tragedy to comedy, but I think you’ll find it’s a little more complicated than that… Read more…

4. Midsummer Night Stream
One of the most remarkable things about the ongoing situation in which we find ourselves is how swiftly the arts responded; many individuals were out of work pretty much overnight, with no reassurance over their financial state, but all the same they were quickly into actions – keeping themselves busy and entertaining the rest of us stuck at home. William Shakespeare has fared rather well in all this, with old productions streaming, The Show Must Go Online coming together at the end of March, and also being reimagined for The Stay Inn. A version of perennial favourite A Midsummer Night’s Dream was put together by Made At Home Productions that took the ‘lockdown’ into consideration, renaming the play Midsummer Night StreamRead more…

3. Queen + Adam Lambert: Live Around The World
Fresh from a stint in East Asia & Australia, Queen + Adam Lambert were due to finally bring the Rhapsody tour to the UK & Europe in summer 2020 – but coronavirus had something to say about that… With the dates postponed to 2021, there was a gaping hole left in the year – so Brian May, Roger Taylor & Adam Lambert have selected some of their favourite live performances from the 200+ shows they have done together to create a new live album & DVD/Blu-ray set. Read more…

2. #MindTheBand: “Discovering The Classics” – Lola Versus Powerman and The Moneygoround, Part One
After some well-documented struggles across the Pond, Lola Versus Powerman did some work in repairing that relationship, charting at number 35 and appearing as a comeback album of sorts. The record also did well in Australia, peaking at #24. Read more…

1. The Show Must Go Online: The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Thursday saw the first production of The Show Must Go Online, a series devised by Rob Myles (who Mind the Blog regulars will recognise from Merely Theatre’s Twelfth Night and his insight into Shakespeare dramaturgy) which will bring a different Shakespeare play to YouTube each week with a rotating cast of actors. It aims to provide the audience with new live theatre, whilst also allowing the performers to hone their skills and gain additional experience. The plays are due to be performed in the order it is believed they were written, so first up was The Two Gentlemen of VeronaRead more…

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