Spring begins with a genuinely exciting series of ‘Live’ events screened at the Wellesley Cinema throughout March.
‘Love’s Labours Won’ from the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford, on Wednesday 4 March, is the RSC’s companion piece to ‘Love’s Labours Lost’ which wowed audiences across the country last month for its clarity of interpretation and freshness. ‘Love’s Labours Won’ (in fact, ‘Much Ado About Nothing’) has the same cast and is set in the autumn of 1918. The youthful, spirited young men that audiences saw setting off for battle in 1914 in the closing scene of ‘Love’s Labours Lost’ have now returned from the trenches. The light-hearted atmosphere of a post-war house party overlays more brittle and less innocent relationships – and spring has turned to autumn. Both plays have been critically acclaimed, one critic speaking for many in his view that they were “quite simply, the best plays you’ll see anywhere”.
A treat for ballet fans follows on Sunday 8 March when the Bolshoi’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is transmitted from Moscow. This is an ‘encore’ performance first recorded in 2013 with Bolshoi stars Alexander Volchkov and Anna Niklina in the title roles. It is regarded as Prokofiev’s finest ballet and follows Shakepeare’s tragedy of young lovers forced to their deaths by fate and rival family feuds.
Verdi’s masterpiece, ‘La Traviata’, is screened on Wednesday 11 March. The English National Opera’s production has one of Europe’s leading directors, Peter Konwitschny, at the helm. ‘La Traviata’ is based on Alexander Dumas’ novel, ‘La Dame aux Camelias’, and tells the tragic story of a high-flying Paris courtesan who surrenders hope of personal happiness to protect her lover’s reputation.
‘Behind the Beautiful Forevers’ which follows on Thursday 12 March is a new play by David Hare based on Katherine Boo’s book which won the National Book Award for Non-Fiction in 2012. Boo spent three years in Annawadi, the slum close to Mumbai airport, recording the lives of its residents whose personal ambitions mirror those of their fast-developing country.
Zehrunisa and her son Abdul aim to recycle enough rubbish to fund a proper house; Sunil, twelve and stunted, wants to eat until he’s as tall as Kalu the thief; Asha seeks to steal government anti-poverty funds to turn herself into a ‘first-class person’ while her daughter Manju intends to become the slum’s first female graduate.
But their schemes are fragile; global recession threatens the garbage trade, and another slum-dweller is about to make an accusation that will destroy herself and shatter the neighbourhood.
Amongst many critical accolades, the Financial Times calls the play ‘humane, epic and politically alert’.
‘Swan Lake’ returns to the Wellesley on Tuesday 17 March, transmitted direct from the Royal Opera House. Anthony Dowell’s production of one of the greatest romantic ballets features superstar ballerina Natalie Osipova in the demanding Odette/Odile role with Matthew Golding as Prince Siegfried. Tchaikovsky’s score makes ‘Swan Lake’ a magical, timeless ballet but this is to be the last production in its present staging, one which has remained unchanged for 30 years. The ROH will itself be undergoing a radical £35 million redevelopment starting in January 2016.
To close the month, on Thursday 26 March Wellington audiences can share Arthur Miller’s masterpiece ‘A View from the Bridge’ from the National Theatre. Mark Strong, recently seen in ‘The Imitation Game’, leads an impressive cast in the Young Vic’s “magnetic, electrifying, astonishingly bold” production, the Evening Standard, Guardian and Independent’s top theatre pick of 2014. This is a play where Arthur Miller confronts the American dream. Set in Brooklyn, longshoreman Eddie Carbone welcomes his Sicilian cousins to the ‘land of freedom’. But when one of them falls for his beautiful niece, they discover that freedom comes at a price. Eddie’s jealous mistrust exposes a deep, unspeakable secret – one that drives him to commit the ultimate betrayal.
Booking details can be found on www.wellesleycinema.co.uk
Wed 4th March ‘Love’s Labour’s Won’ at 7pm
Sun 8th March ‘Romeo & Juliet’ at 3pm
Wed 11th March ‘La Traviata’ at 7.30
Thu 12th March ‘Behind The Beautiful Forevers’ at 7pm
Tue 17th March ‘Swan Lake’ at 7.15pm
Thu 26th March ‘A View From The Bridge’ at 7pm