Theatreland DVD Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Theatreland DVD
Reviewed by
Andrew Proverbs
on
Theatreland DVD Review For someone completely ignorant of this art form (like I was), Theatreland will open your eyes to something new.
Rating:
3.25

Feature 6.5
Video 7.0
Audio 7.0
Special Features   N/A
Total 6.5
Distributor: ABC DVD
Running Time: 184 Minutes
Reviewer: Andrew Proverbs
Classification
: PG

6.5


Theatreland

Theatre is an odd thing to appreciate if you’re looking in from the outside, like myself, having never seen a live performance. From a distance it looks somewhat archaic, sharing public consciousness with more glaring forms of media such as film, television and video games. And yet in this age of electronic entertainment, the very old art of acting on stage has persisted, and has in some cases flourished. 

‘Theatreland’ is a documentary about the Royal Theatre, Haymarket, in London’s West End. Over the course of the eight episodes we are introduced to the performers, ushers, managers and maintenance people who play a crucial role in keeping the theatre running. The show overlaps two key shows, each with its own actors and its own special problems. The first is ‘Waiting for Godot,’ a deep and dark performance about two men waiting for the titular character. ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ is a re-envisioning of Truman Capote’s book, and sets out to distance itself from the famous movie version.  

The first few episodes of ‘Theatreland’ just plod along, as the camera crew track the theatre staff in the hope of finding something interesting. Sometimes this approach works, and sometimes it doesn’t. We get to meet a few intriguing characters:

The plumber’s daughter who simply can’t get enough of grouting, and the out of work actress looking for her big break while trying out as an usherette, are but a couple.

While these people and their stories are interesting, you never feel as if you get to the heart of what makes them tick. 

In particular you don’t get to know enough about Gareth Williams, the perpetual understudy who finally gets his chance to shine. 

The series only really hits its stride in episode 6, when ‘Waiting for Godot’ finally comes to the end of its run, and all of the pent-up emotions are released. Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellen (the two lead actors) offer their insights and reflections on the show and theatre in general. Stewart is always fascinating to listen to, but particularly so here as he talks about the unique relationship between a stage actor and his audience.  

Closing comments: 

For someone  completely ignorant of this art form (like I was), Theatreland will open your eyes to something new. It gives you a glimpse of a fascinating world, rich in tradition and full of colourful characters. It’s just a shame that they didn’t dig a little deeper.






 
 



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