The Crucible at One Aldwych – A Screening from the Old Vic:
I had an inkling that the screening of The Crucible at One Aldwych might be something special. For a start, although it was the only Live at One productions that was not a ‘live screening’, I know it had been a sell-out production at the Old Vic. When I suggested going and was looking for someone to join me, Natalie stepped forward without hesitation. As the main theatre reviewer for London Unattached, I respect her opinion. When I learnt she’d actually seen the stage production already, I was confident that this screening at One Aldwych would be a winner. After all, why would you go back to see something you hadn’t enjoyed first time round? In fact, I learnt that she was keen to see the ‘close-up’ angles you get from a screening – those all important facial impressions that unless you are on the front row you won’t catch in the theatre.
There are plenty of reasons to justify choosing a screening at One Aldwych over a theatre performance. The whole evening is priced at £49.50 per person. That includes a three course meal, a glass of Champagne Lallier and a screening of something quite unique, with coffee in the interval. The screening room itself is compact and luxurious. Blink and you could be staying in the home of some wealthy millionaire and watching from the comfort of a home cinema. You can take your drinks into the thirty seater screening room without having to transfer everything into a plastic cup and you can easily get up to make a phone call or nip to the loo without inciting the wrath of over-diligent ushers. Everyone gets a perfect view. Actually better than that, everyone gets a whole range of perfect views. Imagine watching a great ballet from the front row of the stalls while you want to watch the pas de deux, close up and intimate but then nipping up to the dress circle when the corps comes on so that you get the right angle to see the perfect co-ordination of every dancer on stage. It is a very different experience to theatre and while it perhaps lacks some of the atmosphere, it definitely gives a more ’rounded’ experience.
We dined before the screening in the Axis restaurant with the Live at One menu from executive chef Dominic Teague. The menu includes a choice of three dishes for each of the three courses, with one vegetarian dish at each stage. Natalie’s salmon rillette was a pretty plate of fish which disappeared very quickly. My photo of the spiced chicken terrine that I enjoyed really doesn’t showcase the dish properly though.
Main courses of pan-fried fillet of bream with shellfish and saffron veloute and glazed Dingley Dell pork with roast parsnip and kale were both well balanced plates of food that were not too overwhelming, given we were planning to sit through a long production.
and although neither of us really needed a third course, it would have been churlish to refuse. I loved my heather honey parfait with cassis sorbet, honeycomb and blackberries and Natalie’s Colston Bassett stilton with grapes and raisin bread looked like a still life.
The meal was rounded off with coffee and petit fours, before we were escorted to the screening room for Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ starring Richard Armitage as John Proctor. Having last seen a school production of ‘The Crucible’ I was a little unprepared for this intense and moving production but found it gripping and compelling throughout. It tells the story of how hysteria can shape the actions of every community, a true tale of 17th Century Salem, Massachusetts, where witch-hunts led to public trials and executions. Written in 1953, the play was intended as a metaphor for the anti-communist ‘witch hunts’ of the time in the United States. It is a timeless tale, as relevant to contemporary society as it was when first shown. While I’ve spent some time describing the meal, the focus of the evening was definitely the screening. Each is a one-off though – so worth checking the schedule before you miss something.
The remainder of the Live at One season continues with a series of great productions:
Thursday 12th March – Behind the Beautiful Flowers – National Theatre, theatre
Tuesday 17th March – Swan Lake – Royal Opera House, ballet
Thursday 26th March – A View from the Bridge – The Young Vic, theatre
Thursday 16th April – The Hard Problem – National Theatre, theatre
Thursday 14th May – Man and Superman – National Theatre, theatre
Wednesday 10th June – La Bohème – Royal Opera House, opera
A fabulous selection of some of the best sell-out shows in London, whether or not you have tickets for the theatre production, these live screenings will give you a different insight.
Axis at One Aldwych
Tel: 020 7300 0300 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org