Tuesday, October 06, 2009

"All's Well That Ends Well" (NT Live) - October 2009

We had been a little sceptical about the whole NT Live concept of broadcasting live performances on the National Theatre's London stage to cinemas around the world, but after seeing 'Phedre' back in June we were immediate converts. So we were back at Glasgow's GFT cinema on Thursday to see a broadcast of Shakespeare's "All's Well That Ends Well".

As a 'proof of concept' Phedre had delivered technical perfection but this time we were not so lucky. It became clear at the start of the introduction with NT Artistic Director Nicholas Hytner that the sound was significantly out of synch with the video. During the fifteen minutes of behind the scenes chat, attempts were clearly being made to solve the issue and by the time the play commenced the delay between video and sound had improved - but it was still sufficiently noticeable to be an irritation. There were further attempts to eliminate the delay early on in the performance but as these were causing short drop-outs of the sound I would assume the decision was taken to 'make do' until the interval. And fortunately the second half commenced without any noticeable problems.

Perhaps it was in part due to my brain struggling to reconcile the lip-synch but despite what were undoubtedly performances of a high standard I never quite connected with any of the main characters. So much so that my abiding memory of the show will probably be the performances of Elliot Levey and Tony Jayawardena as 1st and 2nd Lord Dumaine and their mischievous kidnapping of Parolles.

Unquestionably an enjoyable evening but not one likely to linger in the memory. Next up as part of the NT Live scheme is an adaptation of Terry Pratchett's "Nation" at the end of January and I'm hoping that will make more of a lasting impression.

Image by Simon Annand used with permission.