This witty show explores the frustrations of trying to put on a show over zoom.
During all our various lockdowns, we have all become accustomed to having to rely on technology a lot more to keep in touch with family and friends – and of course creating theatre to keep people entertained.
As a combination of Mischief Theatre and the immensely successful The Show Must Go Online, newly formed company Cross-Stitch Theatre explore just how frustrating technology can be as an amateur dramatics company attempt to stage a production of Henry V via Zoom.
Written and directed by Beth Atkinson, this production really captures the hilarious (and of course frustrating) ways in which rehearsing and performing via technology can be complicated – particularly when it brings real life drama into it as becomes increasingly clear.
From Nick thinking that he would be better placed to play the title role than Dominic having worked with John Barrowman to Steven having a crush on Director Alexandra who is worried about the political correctness of the play, the chaos beautifully unfolds all the while rehearsals are ongoing.
Written with great humour, there are plenty of opportunities to really get to know each character and all their eccentricities as they struggle to rehearse properly. Intertwined with the chaos of putting on the show, we get glimpses of the play shining through – but this can be difficult to keep up with – particularly when the speeches are taken out of context so there are times when it feels as though you need to have a good understanding of the play.
It really feels as though it is a play within a play and must have been difficult to rehearse in itself let alone film – but the hard work that has clearly been put into it really does pay off to make for an entertaining watch.
All of the characters are wonderfully diverse, allowing for some great personalities to emerge. For example, James Peters as the somewhat pompous Nick who wants a bigger role is a standout, Natalia Bogdanova as Maria who seems to struggle with technology a lot and Amelia Stephenson as Tilly who continuously attempts a French accent to somewhat dubious effect are particularly enjoyable. But all of the cast work well as a team to keep the production really lively.
If anyone wants to see Shakespeare done not quite perfectly – then this will certainly make you giggle in the best way.
By Emma Clarendon