Played in Britain: Modern Theatre in 100 Plays, 1945-2010
By VAE (V&A Publishing)
Open iTunes to buy and download apps.
'Played in Britain' uses the V&A's rich collection of photography to illustrate 100 Key Plays of the postwar period.
Unique essays explain each play's significance, impact and afterlife; first night reviews from the Guardian and Telegraph newspapers show what critics thought at the time. Many plays feature extracts from the texts. A third have audio interviews with theatre pracitioners.
Lead Guardian critic Michael Billington provides a video commentary to each of the six sections and celebrated actor, writer and director Simon Callow introduces the app.
Try the free taster edition of the app (3 Plays) or purchase the complete edition.
60 Turbulent Years
This app divides the period of UK history into six sections. There are many themes - two early ones are a) the decline of empire and b) the birth of subsidised theatre. Put these two together and interesting things begin to happen. Who knew, or is alive to remember, that 'The Mousetrap' (still going) was partly a meditation on 'institutionalised child abuse' and 'reflects a Britain destabilised by war.' For a contemporary audience it feels like a warm, stalwart of British cultural life... Not so.
Meanwhile the subsidised theatre creates vibrant new new work. Established critics did not approve. Simon Callow perfectly captures the duelling spirits of '50s, when he relays this comment - referring to Ann Jellicoe's 'The Sport of My Mad Mother' (and referring back to 'Look Back in Anger') "if there is anything worse than an angry young man, it's an angry young woman".
Indeed! If only he could have seen Sarah Kane's 'Blasted'!
Brilliant look and content
A wealth of information and archive pictures beautifully presented is let down by poor navigation within the app. No hyperlinks from the index, lack of search and absence of links to web content let it down. However, it is a must for anyone interested in contemporary theatre.
Can't buy the app
The preview looks great but like the previous reviewer it won't allow me to buy the full thing.