What’s in – the curated guide to fun
Looking for some online entertainment? Look no further - I've rounded up all the best theatre, virtual tours, telly and hot new film releases right here just for you. Mwah!
Bickering and backstabbing politicians, waring political parties and a large dose of farcical humour – nope, I’m not talking about the present day (although it sounds like a dead ringer, right?) but the National Theatre’s timely latest release This House. Available until 4 Jun on YouTube, the play offers a funny insight into British politics in the 70s, written by James Graham (Ink, ITV’s Quiz).
For some high brow living room entertainment head over to The Royal Opera House’s website for the online premier of The Royal Ballet’s 2020 production of The Cellist (available on YouTube 29 May from 7pm) and The Royal Opera House’s 2012 production of Il trittico (available 5 Jun from 7pm).
Elsewhere, The Globe‘s next release is comedy The Merry Wives of Windsor – expect all the drama of your typical Shakespeare play (we’re talking marriage, wealth, jealousy and lies). Available 1 – 14 Jun.
LOCAL OPTION: Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre has two further productions available to watch online for free this summer starting with the Ian Dury and the Blockheads musical Reasons to be Cheerful (3 June-3 August), followed by Satinder Chohan’s Made in India.
Part gig, part play, Reasons to be Cheerful is a loud, bold and jubilant coming-of-age tale produced by Graeae (a London based company placing D/deaf and disabled artists centre-stage) packed with punk attitude and classic songs like Hit Me with your Rhythm Stick and Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll, as well as the titular Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3.
Seamlessly integrating British Sign Language and creative captioning through Graeae’s signature theatrical language, the show will be made available to watch via Graeae’s website as part of Crips without Constraints – an ambitious, 11-week programme of online activity celebrating the creativity and diversity of Deaf and disabled artists across the UK.
Then from 16-30 June, the Belgrade will once again partner with Tamasha to present the online premiere of Satinder Chohan’s Made in India – a powerful play about motherhood is centred on the commercial surrogacy industry in India.
Prior to a change in legislation in 2016 (shortly before the show premiered in Coventry in 2017), India had come to be regarded as the world’s “surrogacy hub”, with local women acting as paid surrogates for hopeful parents from around the world.
Full details of how to watch can be found on the Belgrade’s Between Stages hub at belgrade.co.uk/between-stages.
On Amazon Prime Video you can now watch all episodes of Little Fires Everywhere, based on Celeste Ng’s New York Times bestseller of the same name. The TV adaptation stars Reece Witherspoon and Kerry Washington (above) and seems to be all the internet is talking about at the moment – clear out a day in your diary because you’re going to want to binge it.
The fourth and final season of controversial high school drama 13 Reasons Why airs on Netflix this week (5 Jun). Don’t be fooled, the show’s definitely not suitable for tweens and covers hard hitting themes of murder and mental illness, so best to watch after the watershed.
Love documentaries? Sky Documentaries launched last week with an awesome factual line-up of Sky Nature, Sky History and original programming, live and on demand. I’ve got my eye on a documentary on The Go-Gos, the first all female punk band (above), but I’m really holding out for a brand new four-part documentary on Hillary Clinton (airing 12 June) – a portrait of the former Senator, Secretary of State and presidential candidate including unseen footage from her presidential campaign in 2016. If only she’d beaten Trump, eh?
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something lighter, the fifth season of reality show Queer Eye is a dead cert. This time the Fab Five (Jonathan Van Ness, Bobby Berk, Antoni Porowski, Karamo Brown and Tan France) are in Philadelphia to makeover the lives of 10 unsung heroes. If you haven’t seen it before (lucky you, you can watch the first four seasons with fresh eyes), it’s proper feel-good, heartwarming TV that will leave you reaching for the Kleenex.
- BBC Culture in Quarantine – a joint partnership bringing six of the nation’s best-loved Shakespeare titles to audiences for free between now and Sept.starting with Romeo and Juliet (2019) on BBC Four at 9pm on Sun 7 June.
- Free educational activities and resources for all young people in the UK including #RSCHomeworkHelp and a BBC Bitesize Online partnerhsip.
- Productions to view on Marquee TV, the on-demand streaming service for arts and culture and through BritBox.
Hair’s getting long in lockdown Tim! Tuned into The Charaltans’ frontman Tim Burgess’ #timstwitterlisteningparty recently? The idea is that everyone listens to the same album (find the streaming schedule here) at the same time to bring people together through music. Artists live tweet alongside whilst answering the public’s questions and sharing memories of creating the songs – neat, right? Part of the venture, Tim has now teamed up with The Royal Albert Hall to deliver a live set from his home which you can watch on 4 Jun.
The prestigious 74th Tony Awards have been postponed this year, but the show must go on! Instead, you can watch an hour long broadcast celebrating Broadway and its global impact on 7 Jun (6pm). The event will raise money for the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League – you can watch it for free on the Tony Awards website and brand new streaming service Broadway On Demand.
With exams and graduations cancelled all over the world YouTube is hosting its own virtual graduation ceremony Dear Class of 2020 to celebrate with a bunch of famous faces. They’ve pulled out the big guns with speeches from Lady Gaga, Barack Obama, Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland and more. Watch here on 6 Jun.
Cinema night at home? (Try it outdoors with a projector, hung up bed sheet and loads of popcorn). New releases this week include Disney sequel Maleficent: Mistress of Evil over on Disney+, starring a special effects-clad Angelina Jolie (that woman even looks good with horns coming out of her head!). Released 5 Jun.
Meanwhile, brush up on your GCSE French for brand new Only The Animals coming to Curzon Home Cinema on 29 May (don’t worry, I’m sure there are subtitles if you’re language skills are a bit rusty). Directed by Dominik Moll, the film is a thriller about the interlocking lives of five strangers and an unhappily married woman.
Looking to fill the void left by the amazing BBC adaption of Sally Rooney’s Normal People when it concludes this Mon? Check out Amazon Prime Video’s brand new Irish romcom Dating Amber, starring Lola Petticrew and Fionn O’Shea (who coincidently played Jamie in NP). The film tells the story of two best friends who pretend to date to stop rumours surrounding their sexuality. Looks like a goodie.
And finally, We Are One Festival continues this week (until 7 Jun) – a global film festival that’s been co-curated by over 20 film festivals from across the world (including BFI London Film Festival, Cannes and Tribeca), with funds going towards COVID-19 relief funds. Watch here.
MUSEUMS & EXHIBITIONS
Missed the V&A’s Kimono: Kyoto to Catwalk? The museum have released a five part series on YouTube to take you on a personal tour of the exhibition with its curator Anna Jackson. The exhibit features stunning garments dating back to the 1660s and charts the history of the kimono and its aesthetic and social significance.
Meanwhile, the Natural History Museum is releasing loads of brilliant content on its YouTube channel with live talks from scientists and the museum’s curators. Topics so far include, the museum’s famous giant blue whale skeleton, whether there’s water on Mars and everything you’ve always wanted to know about dinosaurs.
And finally, fancy taking a trip (and not the holiday kind)? You can now view a virtual tour of Somerset House’s whacky Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi exhibition. The show brings together work from over 40 artists, designers and musicians with highlights including works from Beatrix Potter, Tom Dixon, Carsten Höller, plus this cool ‘Mindful Mushroom’ by London-based visual artist Seana Gavin.
Exhausted all the virtual tours close to home? Then take a digital flight over to one of these wicked museums abroad starting with the Musée d’Orsay, above, in Paris – the museum has the world’s biggest collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist artworks (we’re talking van Gogh and Cézanne – the big guns). Virtual tour here.
Or you can wizz over to Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. The venue has teamed up with Google Street view for a tour of its headline exhibitions, plus you can explore the museum’s collections online.
LOCAL OPTION Find out how talented Warwickshire photographer Jamie Gray has been capturing lockdown life and how you can contribute to the Rugby social history project recording this unique time, among Rugby Art Gallery and Museum’s online offerings.