LEWISTON — While live theater is not available in these days of COVID-19, staff of The Public Theatre in Lewiston recently posted some of their top suggestions for watching theatrical offerings online, including one that had them rolling in the aisles — and who doesn’t need a good laugh these days.

Here is their recent post:

Our first recommendation for a good laugh

Many years ago on one of our casting trips in New York City, we saw the National Theatre of London’s production of “One Man Two Guvnors” on Broadway. We thought it was some of finest comic acting we’d ever seen and couldn’t remember the last time we laughed so hard and experienced so much silly fun in the theater.

There is a program in the United Kingdom called National Theatre Live in which a professional film crew captures a live performance. These performances are then shown in movie theaters around the world for a cost.  Having attended many of these “movies,” we can honestly tell you that although these films are not quite the same experience as seeing it live, they come pretty darn close.

During this international crisis, National Theatre Live has decided to offer free viewing of four of their past productions on their YouTube channel. The first show they will be offering is our favorite production of the sublimely silly comedy “One Man Two Guvnors.” Starting this Thursday night, it will be available on their YouTube channel for one week and we encourage you to watch it. It can be found at https://www.youtube.com/user/ntdiscovertheatre/videos

The production starts off with about 15 minutes of a silly musical group. In the live performance, the audience entered and took their seats while the band performed, however on film the entire musical performance is included (and is then incorporated throughout the show), so be patient for the show to start. The production stars James Cordon who won a Tony for this role. In the United States he is best known from “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and its Carpool Karaoke.  The dialects in the first few minutes may take a minute for your ears to adjust to, but we encourage you to stick with it and we promise you an evening of great belly laughs. Drop us a line if you watch it and let us know what you think.

More arts events online

Many larger arts institutions have been releasing archival videos of past productions for free viewing at this time.  It’s times like these that remind us how important the arts are to buoy our hearts and raise our spirits. We hope you enjoy our recommendation. And here are some additional (mostly free) theater links that you also might enjoy exploring:

PBS.org: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/blog/streaming-now-from-broadway-to-now-hear-this/

Playbill’s Recommendations: https://playbill.com/article/26-more-on-stage-plays-and-musicals-to-watch-from-your-couch

The Globe Theatre: https://globeplayer.tv/

We highly recommend The Globe Theatre’s production of “Twelfth Night” starring Mark Rylance as Olivia (he won the Tony for this role). There is a slight fee to watch the Globe videos. Prices are in British pounds but they say you can pay from any country.

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