The performing arts come to your living room - streaming from the stage - the National Theatre on YouTube

Tamsin Greig in Twelfth Night

Tamsin Greig in Twelfth Night - Credit: Archant

Now the theatres have gone dark The National Theatre is You-Tubing some of its best loved shows. Each one will be available for a week. Get the best seats in the house, on Thursday nights from 7pm.

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre - Credit: Archant

Now all the theatres have gone dark - though tradition demands that a light will be left on somewhere near the stage to remind us that they will return - The National Theatre is You-Tubing some of its best loved shows. Each show will be available for a week. Get the best seats in the house, on Thursday nights from 7pm. (It took us a while to stream the National’s One Man Two Guvnors last Thursday. At one point there were 15,000 people ahead in the queue but it only took a few minutes, you can see the queue moving fast and you can slide the cursor back to the beginning.)

JANE EYRE From April 9

Directed by Sally Cookson, this Jane Eyre has been described as a tumultuous re-creation of Charlotte Brontë’s novel.

Treasure Island

Treasure Island - Credit: Archant

Susannah Clapp reviewing in The Guardian said: “Melanie Marshall as Bertha Mason, Rochester’s first wife, the “mad woman in the attic” has been granted her own voice. When she breaks into Mad about the Boy, daringly anachronistic, she tells of more than herself.

“Everyone here is touched by a passion that might turn to madness. Madeleine Worrall’s terrific, fervent Jane is no pinched little waif. She is sturdy and strong-minded. Yet at her most vulnerable, she looks the picture of theatrical derangement, swinging from a ladder, with wild Medusa hair. Felix Hayes’s Rochester, energetic, bass-voiced, unravelling in a surprising dressing gown, might well have been locked up were he not male and rich.”


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Director Polly Findlay’s production of Treasure Island has been described as astonishing with strange comic turns. The adaptation by Bryony Lavery turns Jim Hawkins into Jemima.

Arthur Darvill is a beguiling Long John Silver who inspires his the young Jemima lad. The design by Lizzie Clachan has been described as a drama of its own.

Susannah Clapp in The Guardian said: “Massive curved ribs enclose the action: we’re looking at a ship but also at the inside of someone’s body; into their heart. As the mighty deck is winched up, a beehive of cabins appear beneath. Later, the same space becomes a huge dripping cathedral of underground caves. A glugging, sucking sandscape allows Joshua James’s extraordinarily lissome Ben Gunn to look as if he was being birthed by a mudpat.”

Patsy Ferran is a marvel, says Clapp, as Jim: “Be you boy or be you girl?” “That be my business.”

“She is one of the best young actors I have seen in the past decade.”


With more gender-blind casting, Tamsin Greig was celebrated as great fun as Malvolia. Michael Billington in The Guardian said: “Greig is such an instinctive comic actor, it pays off richly.

Greig makes instant sense of the transition of Shakespeare’s steward into a woman. She looks like a mix of Molière’s Tartuffe and Roald Dahl’s Miss Trunchbull: a severe disciplinarian with a pageboy haircut and a penchant for martial arts. Contempt oozes from every pore: when she describes Orsino’s latest emissary as being of “mankind”, her lips curl into a snarl on the first syllable. At the same time, she is so besotted by Olivia that even when her employer says that she is “sick of self-love”, Malvolia gives a furtive, adoring smile. Simon Godwin’s staging is also bright, inventive and boundlessly funny.”

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