This is not theatre on television, this is theatre for television.Four 30-minute pieces, created specially by some of the UK’s leading independent companies and artists, and broadcast live on BBC4 from the former BBC Television Centre.It is a “huge experiment”, presenter Kirsty Wark announces, and an exploration into the possibilities of putting live theatre on TV.
In what is effectively a scratch night being undertaken on live television, it displays the most obvious intervention by cameras.
Here, Gecko’s brand of dance theatre is fast, spinning and dreamlike, following one man through life.
Clever camera work allows for multiple sets, which are then turned inside out for the show’s Truman Show-like end.
It is so physical though, that at times the whirling cameras become nauseating, and the view cries out to be widened and steadied.
The Time of Your Life is followed by Richard De Domenici’s live Redux Project, a disruption of television history that takes place in the exact same locations that these iconic moments – including the Blue Peter ‘elephant’ episode – first played out.
De Domenici’s subversive show hinges on “the potential of live TV to bring about revolutionary change”, and is a pertinent reminder of the cultural context in which this programme is taking place.At some point during the two-hour broadcast, the hashtag #Live From TVC becomes the fourth most tweeted about topic in the UK.Produced by Battersea Arts Centre and Arts Council England, the programme is an opportunity to experiment with theatre and television differently in each show, and Common Wealth’s No Guts, No Heart, No Glory is no exception.The site-specific production was created using interviews with young, female, Muslim boxers in Bradford, and sees Television Centre’s drama studio transformed into a boxing ring.It is also the first time we [the television audience] are joined by a real audience, who we can see watching live in the studio.There is something so all-consuming about experiencing a site-specific piece in person that it is hard to imagine how that level of intensity can translate.