Theater Preview: ROMANTICS ANONYMOUS (UK’s Bristol Old Vic, streamed for The Wallis in Beverly Hills)

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by Tony Frankel on September 10, 2020

in Theater-Los Angeles,Theater-Regional,Virtual


One of the saddest cancellations due to COVID-19 was The Wallis Annenberg Center’s U.S. premiere of writer/director Emma Rice’s production of Romantics Anonymous, a new musical experience. Until the global pandemic passes, and we will hopefully get a chance to see this on stage in the U.S., the Bristol Old Vic version will appear in your homes live from the U.K. for a one-time-only broadcast as a benefit for The Wallis, on Saturday, September 26, 2020, at 1 pm PDT.

The company will have been isolating together in one large bubble for two weeks prior to the performance so that the show can be presented in its original form – with no social distancing. There will be singing, dancing and chocolate eating, and, if true love has its way, even kissing…imagine that!

Just like theater used to be, the production will take place live from the Bristol Old Vic Stage and you can watch it as it happens on your TV, phone, laptop, desktop or iPad in glorious (HD) technicolor.

Based on the film Les Émotifs Anonymes, written by Jean-Pierre Améris and Philippe Blasband, this is the unusual love story of Angélique, maker of beautiful chocolates carefully infused with all the emotion that seems to overwhelm her in daily life, and Jean-René, who manages a chocolate factory that is running out of steam, rather like his own existence. Both seek help from the usual sources: Jean-René favors self-help tapes, and Angélique joins a support group, Les Émotifs Anonymes. When she takes a job in Jean-René’s struggling factory, a fragile love affair unfolds.

“I have devoted my life to the live experience and the collective imagination – things that have proved impossible over the last few months,” states Rice. “While nothing will be able to replace the thrill of a night out at the theatre, this live broadcast is going to be as close to that delicious experience as we can possibly make it! Live, fresh, fun and intimate, this will remind us of what it is to share stories, hear music and, if true love has its way, even kiss. Imagine that! We are taking the utmost care to protect all of our valued team and, for one night only, we can all experience a live performance again, get lost in a wonderful love story and remember what it was to be socially intimate!”

The Wallis’s Artistic Director Paul Crewes says, “Emma Rice’s gift for storytelling and her groundbreaking, uplifting and socially relevant work has made a significant impact on contemporary theatre. Romantics Anonymous, her latest production, is truly a delicious love story with wonderful music by Michael Kooman and lyrics by Christopher Dimond. It will certainly leave you with a smile on your face.”

photos by Steve Tanner

a Wise Children Production
live streamed broadcast
Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday, September 26, 2020 at 1 pm PDT, 9 pm BST
for tickets, call 310.746.4000 or visit The Wallis
purchases before September 19, 2020, are 15 British pounds
($19.65 + $1.31 processing fee = $20.96 US, based on current exchange rates);
after September 20, 2020, it will be 20 British pounds
($26.20 + $1.31 processing fee = $27.51 US, based on current exchange rates)
(ticket sales are being handled by the Ticket Co. in UK, so prices are in British pounds
However, credit cards will be charged in US dollars. Some exchange rates may apply.)

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