Live-streaming shows from London theatres means you can enjoy the best performances without ever having to struggle through Swansea’s awful traffic, never mind make it all the way to the West End.
So I jumped at the chance to see the National Theatre’s multi-award-winning stage adaptation of Mark Haddon’s book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at the Taliesin.
Not having seen a live-streamed performance before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What I found was that the experience was far more like watching a television drama than live theatre.
Usually when you watch a play you only see it from one distance and angle, depending on where you are sitting in the auditorium. But the use of several cameras and vision-mixing to capture and transmit this performance meant you could be looking down on the actors from the ceiling one minute and ogling a performer’s face in extreme close-up the next.
In some ways this both adds and takes away something from the experience. It’s good to be able to see the nuances of an actor’s performance in close-up but I missed the 180 degree view of the stage and the perspective that gives.
That aside, the production was a satisfying one for fans of the book, which is written from the point of view of an autistic teenage boy trying to negotiate his way through the lies and emotions of his parents’ divorce.
Simon Stephen’s adaptation of the novel is a faithful one, although at three hours long, was at least half an hour longer than it need have been.
Staged ‘in the round’ on a bare stage with very few props to convey the setting, it focused attention on an impressive cast of actors that included Niamh Cusack, Una Stubbs and Nicola Walker.
Luke Treadaway’s performance in the role of Christopher was faultless, balancing vulnerability and youthful arrogance, and wringing from the action every last drop of the humour and pathos that made the book such a hit.
For more about the play click here