The best theatre to stream this month: Rufus Norris’s barmy take on Sleeping Beauty, Ian McKellen unmasked and more


Hex is director Rufus Norris’s and adapter Tanya Ronder’s long-delayed take on Sleeping Beauty. The plot is a bit barmy and, among many strange twists, features a baby-eating ogre. But Jim Fortune’s score is great fun, the choreography is cracking and the visuals are downright magical. Available on NT at Home from 12 September.


Pentabus theatre company and Rural Media have created a digital play that explores the teenage experience of growing up in rural Wiltshire in the 00s. It’s about a young woman called Destiny, who is determined to be an MTV backing dancer – but is held back by some shocking abuses of power. Written by and starring Florence Espeut-Nickless.

The Shape of Things

Neil LaBute’s dark comedy is about a college relationship that starts out promisingly, but quickly darkens. How much should someone change for the person they love? Filmed during the recent run at London’s Park theatre, this production is thoughtfully directed by Nicky Allpress and stars Amber Anderson as the controlling girlfriend and Luke Newton as her besotted charge.

Alison Fitzjohn, Bríd Brennan and Posy Sterling in Dixon and Daughters.
Alison Fitzjohn, Bríd Brennan and Posy Sterling in Dixon and Daughters. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

Dixon and Daughters

A co-production from the National Theatre and Clean Break, who focus on the experience of incarcerated women and frequently create powerful pieces of theatre. Deborah Bruce’s play looks at what happens when a woman is released from prison and hopes to escape her experience at home – but is forced to confront the truth with her family.

The Merchant of Venice

Broadway HD has recently added this classic version of The Merchant of Venice – a film of Trevor Nunn’s famous 1999 National Theatre production. The action has been transplanted to Germany on the brink of the second world war and Henry Goodman plays Shylock.

The Yeomen of the Guard

Last year’s ENO revival of Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera updated the action to the 20th century, against the backdrop of Elizabeth II’s coronation. Imprisoned in the Tower of London is handsome Colonel Fairfax, about to be beheaded. Luckily, his old friend, Sergeant Meryll, has a daughter with fingers nimble enough to steal the keys off a guard’s belt … Starring Tony and Olivier award-winning Richard McCabe as Jack Point, the jester. On BBC iPlayer.

Ian McKellen: Playing the Part

Ian McKellen is a master of conversation as much as of performing. He explores his life on stage and screen with sparkling stories and anecdotes, as well as plenty of archive footage. This 90-minute documentary touches on McKellen’s work as a gay rights activist, his film and theatre career and his thoughts on old age.

Eamonn Walker and Zoe Tapper in Othello, 2007.
Eamonn Walker and Zoe Tapper in Othello, 2007. Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian


The Globe theatre’s first production of Othello, in 2007, directed by Wilson Milam with Eamonn Walker as the proud and piteous protagonist. It’s a lively but intimate production with Tim McInnerny as the scheming Iago and Zawe Ashton, right at the start of her career, as Cassio’s jealous lover, Bianca.

Wuthering Heights

Emma Rice’s adaptations always cut to the heart and soul of the source material, rather than getting bogged down in fussy details. This invigorating take on Emily Brontë’s brooding novel features folk music, a Greek chorus and a rock chick performance. Recorded during the Bristol Old Vic run in 2021, it is intense, beautiful and transporting.

Confessions of a Ballet Star

What does it mean to be a ballet dancer at the peak of perfection? This collection of mini-films on Sadler’s Wells’ digital stage section explores the extreme highs and lows of a career in dance. Featuring New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck, Royal Ballet principal Natalia Osipova, English National Ballet lead principal Alina Cojocaru and the electric Carlos Acosta.