The National Theatre perked up the first lockdown no end by sticking some of its best live recordings of plays on YouTube for free, for a week at a time. It was clearly never going to last (because it didn’t make any money), so following that, it launched its own pay-for streaming platform, National Theatre at Home – great for hardcore theatre fans, but maybe not everyone is up for taking out yet another subscription service.
Well, from today Amazon Prime subscribers in Britain and Ireland will be able to watch four of the biggest hits of the National Theatre’s NT Live programme: that is to say, shows filmed by the NT for broadcast in cinemas (in point of fact only one recording is actually from the National itself – they’re so good at this filming theatre lark that they frequently partner with other big shows).
Anyway, without further ado the plays are ‘Fleabag’ – aka Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s one-woman solo show that gave birth to the TV show – ‘Ian McKellen on Stage’ – aka Sir Ian’s tremendously entertaining autobiographical solo show – and a brace of big hits starring Benedict Cumberbatch: ‘Frankenstein’ from 2011, directed by Danny Boyle and co-starring Johnny Lee Miller, and his blockbuster Barbican ‘Hamlet’ from 2015 (pictured). They’re some of the biggest British theatre hits of the last decade, and even the thesp-averse will probably find something to love from our national treasures, captured in cinema-grade live performances.