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Sunday, October 4, 2009

LONDON DRAMAS ON FILM

Curtain up on more filmed stage fare (Report by Billy Suter, courtesy of The Mercury)

The second filmed stage production in a series of quality, up-to-the-minute dramas from London is soon to be seen at Cinema Nouveau at Gateway, Umhlanga. Also headed our way is a film of The Last Night of the Proms with conductor Paul Daniel on the podium seen only days ago at the British capital’s Royal Albert Hall.

William Shakespeare’s romantic comedy-fantasy, All’s Well That Ends Well, currently to be seen at London’s National Theatre, is soon to be filmed and will be shown in high-definition at all seven Cinema Nouveau cinemas countrywide at 19h00 on October 22 and 28. Tickets R200 each, which includes a full red-carpet theatre experience and refreshments, and booking is now open at Cinema Nouveau.

This marks the second filmed drama in the Live Theatre at Cinema Nouveau project which started earlier this year with sell-out performances of the filmed London production of Ph├Ędre, starring Helen Mirren.

The National Theatre London’s production of All’s Well That Ends Well met with some rave reviews, The Sunday Times UK proclaiming it to be “a masterpiece”. Directed by Marianne Elliott, it stars Michelle Terry and George Rainsford, features set designs by Rae Smith and has lighting by Peter Mumford. Set against a background of sexism, snobbery and a battle between the generations, the play turns fairytale logic on its head. It is a wondrous, bittersweet story following the feisty but lowly Helena (Terry), who falls in love with Bertram (Rainsford), a haughty count. To gain his hand, she is set a string of impossible tasks. Even if accomplished, they can hardly guarantee his love. He refuses to bed her and yet says he will only be hers if she bears his child; and he lusts after another. Nevertheless, our heroine, whether wisely or no, refuses to give him up. All’s Well That End Well is one of Shakespeare’s most enigmatic plays. It is part of that trio of early 17th-century works – the others are Troilus and Cressida and Measure for Measure – which are traditionally referred to as the ‘problem plays’ or the ‘dark comedies’. Nowadays we might call them ‘Shakespeare noir’,” says a Cinema Nouveau spokesman. He added that Cinema Nouveau has acquired all the National Theatre Live titles via international distributor By Experience.

This is the company that’s also behind the hugely successful Metropolitan Opera Live in high-definition – which is to have its third season-premiere at Cinema Nouveau countrywide later this year.

Meanwhile, BBC Worldwide Music and Ster-Kinekor Theatres have announced that BBC Last Night of the Proms will be shown at Cinema Nouveau in high-definition and digital surround sound from next Friday to allow music lovers to experience what is billed as the “biggest classical music party in the world”. Tickets will cost R65 each. BBC Last Night of the Proms is traditionally sold as a music programme to international broadcasters and will this year be shown in 15 territories around the world including Canada, Japan, Germany, Norway and Australia. “BBC Last Night of the Proms is one of the most popular musical celebrations enjoyed by millions of people and we are delighted to extend the experience to guests exclusively at our theatres,” said Michael Bender, Ster-Kinekor Theatres marketing executive. “There is no better way to experience some of the world’s leading artists than on our big screen. Proms fans can look forward to seeing the 2009 finale of this popular annual event, which took place at The Royal Albert Hall recently.”

The Proms were founded in 1895. The BBC began running them in 1927 and since then the Last Night of the Proms has become one of the most famous musical events in the world, watched and listened to by millions. The 2009 season, which began on July 17, consists of 100 concerts and culminated with a powerful finale on September 12, which featured leading international artists and an all-embracing musical programme that introduces new works alongside much-loved classics.

Salim Mukaddam, head of commercial affairs at BBC Worldwide Music, said: “This is the first time BBC Music content will be screened in cinemas around the world and we’re excited to take such an amazing concert to global audiences. “The Royal Albert Hall holds around 5,250 people but this presentation will allow fans to be part of the experience no matter where they are in the world. Hopefully this will be the first of many theatrical events from BBC Worldwide Music.” – Billy Suter