This larder should have previewed the many theatre shows that were scheduled to open in the next two months , but alas lockdown 3 has stymied all our hopes of attending live performances . So it’s back to streaming of tv, films and musicals and there’s still plenty to celebrate.
As entries now open for this year’s LGBTQ+ Iris Prize film festival, there’s still chance to catch some intriguing and thought-provoking short films from the Iris Best of British Shorts 2020, showing on Channel 4’s all4 .
Dungarees features a transgender boy and his CIS male friend in a playful and engaging miniature tale which involves toenail painting as a sort of cross-over ritual.
The Passing is an altogether more sombre piece. At first I thought the female protagonist was a pathologist, preparing to carry out a post-mortem on a covered-up corpse. But it becomes clear that she is in fact an undertaker, preparing the body – beautifying it – ready for its ultimate presentation . The bigger surprise awaits when she draws back the shroud.
Pompeii kind of eluded me for a storyline and seems largely to be simulating phone camera antics, including gay sex in a nightclub toilet cubicle and wild party going, but it’s intriguing .
The Scene also opens enigmatically with a young black guy X-boxing his time away. The arrival of his ex-husband leads to hair-cutting and other intimate rituals – all apparently to prepare for a long-delayed re-entry into the gay world, and back onto the scene of its title.
For me the most intriguing of the collection is Better – a futuristic scary tale about the need to conform forced on a young boy who’s bullied by his schoolmates, grows his hair, plays with girls, and again paints his toenails in a trans kind of ritual. Taken by his mother to a clinic where he can be made “ better “ in an unspecified operation, it’s sobering and thought-provoking.
Finally Mandem is a journey by two London-based Jamaican drug-dealers which seems matter-of-factly scarily ordinary – until they kiss. To view go to all4.
LGBTQ+ film distributors Peccadillo Pictures’ latest offering is due out on 18 January. Are We Lost Forever focuses on the emotional break-up of two lovers Adrian and Hampus. Can they be reconnected or is the film’s title prophetic ? Watch out for my Scene magazine review. Details at peccapics.com
The new Sony Movies Classic channel is a chance to see some great movies of yesteryear free of charge . They include Psycho and The Graduate – check the list on most platforms including freeview, freesat and Virgin.
A Miracle of Miracles is a fascinating documentary about the creation of the stage and film musical Fiddler On The Roof . It looks at the story’s roots and goes behind the scenes at various productions . It’s a great watch and is on demand at Amazon Prime and Vimeo.
Michael Sheen and David Tennant are making a triumphant return in season 2 of their lockdown comedy drama Staged. Written by Simon Evans , who also features, it centres on a possible US version of the series – but will our heroes be wanted ? It’s on BBC 1 and iplayer.
The world premiere of British musical The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was slated for live performances at Southwark Playhouse , but lockdown 3 now means it’s transferred to pay-per-view streaming from 26 January to 14 February. Look out for my review. Written by Richard Hough and Ben Morales Frost, it’s directed by Charlotte Westenra. It centres on a father and daughter who try to rescue through magic a small town nestling under the Northern Lights. Tickets at tsamusical.com
When theatres are dark, there’s a tradition of leaving a single light bulb switched on onstage. Leave A Light On is a must-watch series of concerts from West End Musical Theatre performers beamed from their homes. It runs from 13 to 26 January and includes a show performed by recent MT graduates. Full cast list at lambertjackson.co.uk
The highly rated version of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Sunset Boulevard the musical has been extended on streaming by the Curve Theatre, Leicester until 17 January. It stars Ria Jones who by all accounts is outstanding. to book – curveonline.co.uk
You can watch a new and developing play and help LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity akt this weekend. James Cole’s play Star Man, which featured in Scene magazine last year gets a fresh live streamed outing on Sunday 17 January. Star Man tells the story of a young man Ben (Jack Matthew) battling to overcome the hold of a drug addiction while a ghost from his past seeks to destroy his future. It’s a gripping piece of drama and akt – formerly known as the Albert Kennedy Trust is a worthy recipient of its streaming funds . Book your tickets here: outsavvy.com/events
And finally another enigmatic must-watch , in my opinion , is the Netflix offering The Midnight Sky , a sci-fi moralistic tale about space exploration, hope, aspiration and the disaster of global warming. Its central two electrifying performances from director George Clooney and 7-year-old Caoilinn Springall are matched by peerless special effects and cinematography.