Edinburgh Fringe, Jane Eyre and more

Edinburgh Fringe, Jane Eyre and more

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jane eyre

“I was struck by her spirit and her strong will, her idiosyncratic and brilliant mind. She lashes out at anything that prevents her from being herself. I just thought, Wow, I’d love to be someone like that!” That’s what visionary director Sally Cookson felt as she read Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre – and her stunning staging of the novel boasts a similarly inspirational lead by Madeleine Worrall. The Bristol Old Vic and National Theater co-production has been included in the NT at Home catalogue.

Edge of Edinburgh

The world’s largest arts jamboree is back, celebrating its 75th anniversary with more than 3,000 productions across the city. Luckily there are some online too, including shows about an accidental astronaut, the life of Paul Robeson and environmentalist Rachel Carson, the French Revolution and Shakespeare performed by immigrant actors. Meanwhile, Next Up Comedy will be hosting more than 50 live streams from the festival, including sets from Esther Manito, Yuriko Kotani and Christopher Bliss. The Rand runs August 5-29; The full list of online theater shows can be found here.

speak volumes

The National Youth Dance Company tour of Alesandra Seutin’s Quartier Paradis arrives at Sadler’s Wells in September. But before that, you can watch the NYDC film of Seutin’s Speak Volumes. Directed by Ben Williams, it unfolds in the eerie, otherwise empty corridors, classrooms, and playground of a disused school. Thanks to some startling close-ups and lyrical narration, it packs a punch even before Seutin’s crew takes the first steps of their glittering insurgency. Get ready for a sinister take on Simon Says.

Hedda (after Ibsen)

Writer-director Jen Heyes and composer Tom Parkinson’s sideways glance at Hedda Gabler finds Ibsen’s 19th-century heroine pitted against the great Norwegian playwright, unhappy with the limited life she has written. David Hoyle gives us a hauntingly dead Hedda, sometimes through song, in a sharp and stylishly captured performance available through September 30th on Soho Theater on Demand.

The system

Emily Head of The Inbetweeners plays all the roles in her own play, a murder mystery set after a birthday party where the host was murdered. Directed by Guy Unsworth, the Original Theater Company’s ambitious production was recorded live in one take on stage at the New Wolsey in Ipswich, followed by a Q&A with the writer and cast. Available until August 31st.

summer shorts

Subscription service Marquee TV presents its third annual festival of free short dance, theater and music films, one for each day of the month. Drew Jacoby choreographs Evidence of It All, written by librettist Royce Vavrek and narrated by Rosamund Pike; Drift finds choreographer Cathy Marston performing her own improvisation on the banks of the Aare River in Bern, Switzerland; and there are a handful of films from Gauthier Dance Company’s The Dying Swans Project, each responding to Mikhail Fokine’s 1907 solo piece for Anna Pavlova.

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The prolific Ringham brothers have put their expert ears to work on stage productions across the UK, creating sound designs whose spirit lingers long after the curtain has fallen. They are now collaborating with playwright Dan Rebellato on their first radio play for the BBC. It’s a thriller starring Gina McKee as a forensic analyst who uses sounds to solve mysteries. Shvorne Marks plays her trainee and there is also a role for Fenella Woolgar. The series will air weekly on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Sounds from Friday 19 August.

Neighbors

When Cicely Tyson died last year, she was rightly hailed as an accomplished actress and a mentor to many stars, including Vanessa Williams, who called her “incredible and inspirational”. In 1971, Tyson starred in a television adaptation of Arkady Leokum’s play Neighbors, which explores similar themes to Bruce Norris later Clybourne Park as it follows a black couple who plan to move to a predominantly white suburban neighborhood. In addition to Death of a Salesman with Lee J Cobb, The Glass Menagerie with Katharine Hepburn and Awake and Sing! with Walter Matthau.

The house that Jackson built

Meet the mysterious Jackson, a traveling, wagon-towing storyteller who holds the stage in Justin Coe’s one-man show. A captivating performer, Coe celebrates the thrill of losing herself in a library – at a time when she herself is becoming lost amidst giant cuts. Jackson’s story of growing up a bookworm in a cliff-top home with his father, words that “flutter like birds in my brain” is told with beautiful rhyming couplets and an oversized pop-up book set design. For viewers ages four to 10, this is one of Half Moon Theater’s several on-demand shows to entertain and inspire during the summer holidays.

What the Constitution means to me

For more than a dozen years, Heidi Schreck’s evergreen show about the US Constitution has taken on new shades in every political climate. Every time she does it again, “the world has changed,” she says on the show. “Next week, next month, its meanings may shift again,” noted Alexis Soloski in our own Broadway review in 2019. Indeed, Schreck’s account of how America’s supreme law has failed women for generations is all the more relevant now harder after Roe v Wade tipped over. Available to stream from Amazon Prime.

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