More UK theatre on the big screen

Sir Ian McKellen as the title character in King Lear.

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BY BILLY SUTER

THE Cinema Nouveau cinema group in South Africa has another treat in store for theatre lovers in October – three new National Theatre Live films of acclaimed new London stage productions.

Since launching in 2009, National Theatre Live film broadcasts of stage productions  have been seen by an audience of over 8 million people at 2 500 venues in 65 countries. The first season began in June 2009 with the acclaimed production of Phédre starring Oscar winner Helen Mirren.

Fresh from her Bafta win for playing Princess Margaret in the hit TV series The Crown, Vanessa Kirby stars in Julie, an updated version of August Strindberg’s classic play Miss Julie, written in 1888 but now set in modern London.

It has been scheduled for screenings at all Cinema Nouveau cinemas countrywide – including the Ster-Kinekor commercial complex at Gateway in Umhlanga – at 7.30pm on Saturday, October 13, 2.30pm on Sunday, October 14, and 7.30pm on Wednesday and Thursday, October 17 and 18.

Vanessa Kirby in Julie.

Wild and newly single, socialite Julie throws a midsummer party. In the kitchen, Jean and Kristen clean up as the celebration heaves above them. Crossing the threshold, Julie initiates a power game with Jean, which descends into a savage fight for survival.

Fuelled by social division, Strindberg’s masterpiece is said to remain shocking and fiercely relevant in this new adaptation by Polly Stenham. Carrie Cracknell (The Deep Blue Sea) directs a cast including Eric Kofi Abrefa (The Amen Corner).

Also scheduled for October is King Lear, with Academy Award nominee and Tony and Olivier award-winner Ian McKellen (Lord of the Rings, X-Men) in the title role.

This production of King Lear received five-star reviews for its sell-out run at the UK’s Chichester Festival Theatre, and will be at Cinema Nouveau cinemas in South Africa at 7.30pm on Saturday, October 27, at 2.30pm on Sunday, October 28, and at 7.30pm on Wednesday and Thursday, October 31 and November 1.

Jonathan Munby (King Kong for The Fugard in Cape Town) directs this contemporary retelling of Shakespeare’s tender, violent, moving and shocking play, described by The Times as “nuanced and powerful”.

Considered by many to be the greatest tragedy every written, King Lear sees two ageing fathers – one a king, one his courtier – reject the children who truly love them. Their blindness unleashes a tornado of pitiless ambition and treachery, as family and state are plunged into a violent power struggle with bitter ends.

Expect grand costumes and royal pomp alongside nail-biting tension in Nottingham Playhouse’s new production of Alan Bennett’s moving and funny masterpiece, The Madness of George III, screening from December 22.

Directed by Adam Penford, the cast includes Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Game of Thrones) as King George III and Adrian Scarborough (The King’s Speech, Gavin and Stacey) as Dr Willis.

Mark Gatiss as the monarch in The Madness of George III.

It’s 1786. King George III is the most powerful man in the world. However, his behaviour is becoming increasingly erratic as he succumbs to fits of lunacy; his mind unravelling at a dramatic pace.

As the Queen and Prime Minister attempt to hide the king’s illness from his subjects, royal doctors hopelessly squabble over the correct cure, subjecting him to torturous medical treatments.

A play about power and identity, examining the fine line between a king and a man, The Madness of George III is an epic, multi-awarding-winning drama, familiar from both stage and screen.

Screenings will be at 7.30pm on Saturday, December 22, 2.30pm on Sunday, December 23, and at 7.30pm on Wednesday and Thursday, December 26 and 27.

Note that discounts and benefits valid for members of SK Club, Discovery Vitality and Edgars Club loyalty programmes also apply for all live theatre productions. Special prices for group bookings are also available on request.

 


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