Welcome to our new series, One Good Thing to Do Today. It’s a guide to little things you can actually do in lockdown London that will provide bits of light in these dark times. Today, Rose Johnstone’s pick of the National Theatre’s new streaming service.
Back in Deep Lockdown, the National Theatre launched a series that saw a handful of its biggest productions, originally filmed for the cinema, broadcast on YouTube for free to the world. It was insanely popular, and for good reason: with the barriers of price, location and time stripped away, who wouldn’t want to see some of the world’s greatest plays performed by top-class actors? You can now access a treasure trove of mind-expanding productions on the NT’s new subscription streaming platform, National Theatre at Home.
Where to start? We recommend ‘Amadeus’. The National Theatre’s 2016 production of Peter Shaffer’s famous play is the very definition of epic. The story follows Antonio Salieri (played by Lucian Msamati), an Italian composer in the imperial court of Vienna who becomes obsessively jealous of the younger and more talented Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Not only is the play incredibly gripping, but there’s a live orchestra on stage and a party scene that makes the eighteenth-century court seem wilder than a Berlin nightclub. Much of Shaffer’s play is fiction, but you’ll still feel as though you’ve brushed up against one of history’s most virtuosic (and eccentric) minds – not to mention watched one of the most lauded plays of the twentieth century.
Renting ‘Amadeus’ from NT at Home costs £7.99, or you can subscribe to the entire channel for £9.98 a month and get access to other big hitters like ‘Yerma’ (Young Vic, 2017, starring Billie Piper) and ‘Coriolanus’ (Donmar Warehouse, 2013, starring Tom Hiddleston). Think of all the pub quizzes you’re going to ace with all this new theatre knowledge! That said, don’t follow Mozart’s example and get too ahead of yourself. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t end well for him.)
Read more from our One Good Thing to Do Today series.