So National Theatre in London is doing this awesome program called “National Theatre at Home” in lieu of the coronavirus shutdowns. It’s basically free livestreaming of plays on Youtube, and then the show stays up for the week afterwards. I’ve never seen a British play (yes I know it’s U.K. not Britain and all that just, for the sake of easier words) that’s not some form of Shakespeare, and this week’s show being a comedy seems like a good mental break from all the stress. I was a little skeptical of how well this’ll work as a Youtube video, but eh, don’t knock it until you try it I suppose?
So I sat down and watched One Man, Two Guvnors with James Corden last night. And it was great! Absolutely hilarious. I’ve never seen James Corden act before – I knew he could sing very well from the “Carpool Karaoke” segments on his show – but wow, he was just awesome in this! The play is a mix of ‘comedy of errors’, physical slapstick, a smattering of audience interactions, and a whole bunch of British humor that I could only infer from my limited exposure to the culture (I was almost positive there was a Margaret Thatcher joke in there but, not 100% sure). I’m also very glad there’re captions, because there’s no way I would be able to understand most of the dialogue because of all the different accents (and British accents in general. I had to watch Doctor Who and Sherlock with subtitles most of the time.) And usually I’m not big on slapstick or physical comedy, but there’s just something different about watching it “live” on a stage than, you know, in films. The people actually doing stuff without “takes” and the live audience participation made it super funny, even though technically I’m still watching a ‘film’ in that it’s a Youtube video.
I think this just cemented the fact that I’m the kind of person that actually enjoy plays. Too bad I can’t afford going to see any on a regular basis, and there aren’t that many in my area. It’s a major city but nothing like New York. And in the foreseeable future we won’t be able to go anywhere with people anyway, but at least there’s stuff like this.
I highly recommend watching the play while you still can. And donate if you can, because the arts is what’s keeping a lot of folks sane nowadays. Me included.