I love that cinemas are now showing theatre productions, offering us the chance to watch something slightly more cultural than the latest blockbusters. Last year I missed out on tickets to Macbeth at Manchester International Festival but managed to catch it at the cinema screening, and it was a) great to be able to see it at all, but b) also at a fraction of the cost (and ticket prices can be an issue if it’s a production you’re not too sure about).
And because that worked out so well I made sure I caught the new musical From Here to Eternity when it screened last week. I’d heard great things about this show but sadly it closed on the West End before I got chance to see it, so was so glad that they decided to screen it. Musical theatre is my thing anyway, so will be very happy to see more screenings of West End shows.
I thought the show itself was a great production and a fantastic cast, but army-based shows are lost on me slightly. I’ve always loved the songs in South Pacific but found the story dragged, and this was kind of the same. I just can’t relate to army life or people who think Hawaii is a “godforsaken island”! But I was totally blown away by the lead Private Prewitt played by Robert Lonsdale – he had the most amazing voice and sang all the best songs! Some of his songs (including his duets) were really powerful and memorable, and I’d buy the soundtrack just to hear them again!
Now some might say that a stage musical loses something when it is shown on the screen and I would agree to some extent. These screenings cannot replace trips to the actual theatre. But there are also some very big plus points. Firstly for around £10 you can see a West End show that would otherwise cost far more, and you’ll be sat in a seat with loads of legroom and a fantastic view (thanks to the close in camera work). Secondly you get to see shows that you may have missed out on or can’t get to see outside of London. They even try to recreate the theatre vibe with an interval in the middle and a printout synopsis/cast & creatives list in lieu of a programme. The audience even applauded when I watched Macbeth! (They didn’t last week, but it was a much smaller turnout so people probably felt self conscious!)
I’d recommend it – I’d rather watch something like this than most of the other things currently showing at cinemas! And the next on my list is Billy Elliot, screening on 28th September.