NT Live: Nation
Thursday, February 11, 2010 at 7:00 PM
Rialto Cinemas Elmwood
The National Theatre in London has movie house screenings of their plays now, along the lines of the Met's Live in HD broadcasts. However, this was not a live broadcast but a re-broadcast of a live performance. Going in, I knew nothing about Nation or the Terry Pratchett novel on which it is based. As it was, I could not make sense of this story about shipwrecked Victorians clashing with Polynesian natives. This is the National Theatre's family show, & it looks like a politically incorrect version of the Lion King. When I wasn't offended by the show's inexplicable presentation of race, I was simply embarrassed. The 2nd half opens with the cast dancing the hula while singing happy birthday to a puppet.
I can at least say that the filming was well executed. This can't have been an easy show to film live, as it is a very complicated production, with a rotating stage, underwater effects & video projections. & I was totally convinced by Emily Taaffe as Daphne, a Victorian teenager gone native. At the beginning of our screening, there was a technical glitch with the projection, & we found ourselves looking at the video player interface for a minute while the program was re-cued. There were also occasional audio drop-outs.
The next broadcast is Alan Bennett's The Habit of Art, which features Benjamin Britten & W.H. Auden as 2 of its characters. Obviously a different kind of show.