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Sunday, March 29, 2020


(James Corden in One Man, Two Guvnors, for which he won a Tony Award. Stream the hit comedy free on YouTube from April 2 to 9. Picture by Johan Persson)

by BILLY SUTER (courtesy of

While the Coronavirus pandemic keeps theatres dark in South Africa, on Broadway and in London’s West End, the curtain has risen on some terrific news – National Theatre Live, which presents filmed London stage productions, will be streaming acclaimed shows free on YouTube from Thursday, April 2.

In an effort to boost morale and promote theatre in these dark times, the series will be known as National Theatre At Home and new shows will premiere at 19h00 (UK time) every Thursday. Each show will be available for free streaming on the National Theatre YouTube channel for seven days.

It has been reported that the series will include Q&As with cast and creative teams, post-screening talk-backs, and more.

The National Theatre Live (NTL) website reports that it has also been decided to offer NTL’s world-class productions free to UK state-funded teacher and pupils at home, as well as offer a free trial for other educational institutions.

First up among shows to be streamed free on YouTube will be Nicholas Hytner’s widely acclaimed production of One Man, Two Guvnors, filmed live on stage in 2011. It will premiere at 19h00 (UK time) on Thursday, April 2, and then will be available for free streaming any time until April 9.

Also confirmed for April streaming is Sally Cookson’s adaptation of Jane Eyre (from April 9). It is a bold and innovative reimagining of Charlotte Bronte’s masterpiece which uncovers one woman’s fight for freedom and fulfillment on her own terms.

Bryony Lavery’s adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island is scheduled for streaming from April 16. This thrilling stage production of the tale of murder, money and mutiny features Arthur Darvill as pirate Long John Silver,

Tamsin Greig plays Malvolia in William Shakespeare’s classic comedy, Twelfth Night (from April 23), which tells of music being the food of love and a play in which nobody is quite what they seem.

Additional titles are expected to be announced at a later date.

A Broadway and West End comedy hit, One Man, Two Guvnors features a Tony Award-winning performance from the host of The Late Late Show, James Corden, who has also been seen on the big screen in Into the Woods and Cats.

One Man, Two Guvnors also stars Oliver Chris, Tom Edden and Jemima Rooper. Adapted from a play by Carlo Goldoni by Richard Bean, the comedy focuses on a man who has to cater to two masters, one of whom is a gangster, while also just trying to get a bite to eat.

A riotous farce, running three hours and 30 minutes with interval, One Man, Two Guvnors enjoyed a UK tour before running in the West End and transferring to Broadway. It won Corden a WhatsOnStage Award, a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and an Outer Critics Circle Award. – Billy Suter,