Jonathan Melville: Coming live to the big screen

HEAD to Cineworld tonight and you’ll find something a bit different among all the blockbusters - a stage production of Jeff Wayne’s The War of the Worlds recorded at the O2 arena in 2012.

Starring Liam Neeson, Jason Donovan and Marti Pellow, the show features hit singles performed by a 45-piece orchestra, a 100foot- wide animation wall and special effects worthy of any Hollywood movie.

Recently you may have spotted concerts by the likes of The Rolling Stones, The Doors and Queen in your local multiplex, with more on the way.

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Elsewhere, the Royal Opera House regularly beams live broadcasts into cinemas around the UK, mixing ballet and opera performances which would normally be available only to those in London. On 26 April at Cineworld you’ll be able to see Placido Domingo in a new version of Verdi’s Nabucco, filmed the weekend before.

London’s National Theatre has also been getting in on the act. A recent stage version of Frankenstein, directed by Danny Boyle and starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Lee Millar, was shown at the Cameo in Edinburgh, while a live performance of the NT’s This House is promised for 16 May.

Viewers may be missing some of the buzz of being at the play/ballet/opera, but it does avoid the cost of travelling hundreds of miles around the country.

While most of these performances are London-based, it could be interesting to see productions from other cities on the big screen, and even Edinburgh shows beamed around the globe.

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