What a summer.
There’s just so much to do in the wonderful city of Berlin. It’s still June and this month has been fantastically exciting. At the beginning of the month, I introduced you to the hip-hop, break-dancing fun of Mozart, I watched the hilarious stand-up performance of Bill Bailey and also did my first interview with a tall, lanky, German, English-speaking, comedian! I then went all glamorous and did my first press stint at the it’s so-hip-it-hurts Berlin Music Video Awards. After that, it was only a matter of time before your fabulousness and mine could be hidden no further, at the summer festivals that the city of Berlin organises for free!
In May, I began to introduce you to all the lovely things that you could do in Berlin without the worry of understanding the very intellectual, but grammatically difficult, language of German. One of those activities was the rather wonderful Shakespeare production of death and destruction in the body of King Lear.
As I recall, I told you that Berlin is lucky to be one of the designated cities to have original productions broadcasted by the English Royal National Theatre. Live. What this means is that you don’t have to go to London to watch these productions and pay through your nose, but you can relax and watch them from the comfy seat of a world-class cinema, instead.
Last month, I received a ticket from one of Berlin’s very few cinemas in which you can watch original English Language films. The cinema is called: CineStar Berlin – Original. im Sony Center.
You can watch Hollywood blockbusters, Oscar nominated films, the English Royal Opera Live and live productions from the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Isn’t that brilliant? It’s the cinema that I go to the most and a few weeks ago I chose to watch the National Theatre Live production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
WHAT’S THE NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE?
The National Theatre Live is an exciting initiative to broadcast live performances of the best of British theatre to cinemas in Britain and around the world. Launched in 2009, the National Theatre Live is shown in over 700 cinemas, in 22 countries all around the world. So far, I’ve personally seen three (3) productions. One (1) production starring John Lithgow in The Magistrate which was awesome, the second (2nd) production starring Helen Mirren in The Audience which was fabulous, and the third (3rd) production in King Lear which was amazing.
WHAT IS THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME ABOUT?
Well, the play is based on the award-winning novel of Mark Haddon, adapted by Simon Stephens, and directed by Marianne Elliott. The book was originally published in 2003, and was the winner of more than seventeen (17) literary awards, including prizes in Japan, Holland and Italy, as well as the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in Britain, in 2004.
I remember the book being the darling of the literary world at the time, so if you haven’t read it, perhaps you should.
The stage production won seven (7) 2013 Olivier Awards including Best New Play, and has been hailed by The Times as ‘a phenomenal combination of storytelling and spectacle.’
The story is about a young 15-year-old boy called Christopher who discovers that his neighbours dog (Wellington), is dead. It has been speared with a garden fork, and Christopher himself, is under suspicion, as to killing the dog.
Christopher records each fact in the book he is writing, to solve the mystery of who murdered Wellington.
He has an extraordinary brain, is exceptional at maths but is terribly ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. He has never ventured alone beyond the end of his road, he detests being touched, and he distrusts strangers. But his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.
DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND REALLY GOOD ENGLISH TO WATCH IT?
Yes and No!
Yes, because it’s the theatre sweetie.
No, because you don’t need to get the words in order to understand the play. It’s pretty plain and what is a theatre production, if the actors don’t jump around, sway, and cry in a flood of tears? Without giving too much away: young Christopher goes alone on a very long journey, and meets interesting characters in the big and dangerous city.
DO I “KNOW” ANYONE?
You might not know Luke Treadaway who plays Christopher the 15-year-old boy who has a unique perspective on the world, Niamh Cusack who plays Siobhan, Christopher’s favourite teacher, or Paul Ritter who plays Ed, Christopher’s father, but I bet you are familiar with the actor Una Stubbs.
UNA STUBBS: Una plays Mrs Alexander an older woman living in Christopher and Ed’s street, who seems to know all the neighbourhood gossip. Una can be seen in such productions as Worzel Gummidge (1979-81) and (1987-89), The Catherine Tate Show (2005), Eastenders (2006), and of course famously known as Mrs. Hudson: the landlady of 221B Baker Street in the BBC 1 production of Sherlock (2010- ).
Sad and thought-provoking! I might be biased here but a British theatre production will never let you down!
Watching the theatre in a cinema setting is as good as being at the theatre itself. Whoever coughed up that idea is a clever fellow. Because you can:
- Watch a theatre production in the comfort of (depending on your ticket), a luxury seat.
- Wear whatever you want without the worry of being over or under-dressed although I personally dressed up. It’s ingrained in our soul!
- Sit together as a group of 3 or a group of 20.
- If you’re really squeezed, you can stretch and walk around in the stairway of the cinema. Somehow, I don’t see that happening in a “real” theatre.
- You can bring your popcorn and beer into your seat but for more authenticity, buy champagne or wine, and brand bottles and glasses about like I did. It’s the theatre sweetie!!
- Most importantly, quality theatre of the best actors on the British stage for only €18.00, in your own home-town or nearby!
WHAT IF THIS PERFORMANCE REALLY ISN’T MY CUP OF TEA?
Not to worry. There are more productions coming up that can be seen at the Cinestar Berlin – Original such as:
A Small Family Business by Alan Ayckbourn coming up in Berlin on 03.07.14.
Tickets for the National Theatre Live in Berlin are €18.00 for adults and €13.00 for children and can be bought online here. A wonderful bargain
Approximate running time: 2 hours 40 minutes, including a 20 minute interval.
For more information about The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, please contact: The National Theatre Live.
For more information about Original English films or productions in Berlin, please contact: CineStar Berlin – Original.
This article is not sponsored and even though I received a complimentary ticket, all opinions and the bottles of chilled wine I quaffed, are my very own! Every week for the months of May and June, I’ll be writing about summer time in Berlin, and what to do when you get here.
In the next few weeks, I will be writing about the exciting world of fashion, river cruising, and just having a jolly good time.
In case, you didn’t know, and surely you did! Berlin Fashion Week is taking place 08.07.14 – 13.07.14. I’m going. Hurrah!
Be there or be square! Or on the other hand, read my blog. July is going to be amazing.
Are you coming?
Watch this space!
Have you watched a National Theatre Live production? Have you ever read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time? Do you know Sherlock?
Are you coming for the summer?
See you in Berlin.
If you like this post.
Share it! Tweet it! Like it!