Sunday, 7 July 2013
LIVE Cinema events - worth the hype?
What are these "Live" events that have been springing up at cinemas around the country? Are they any good and, more importantly, in these cash strapped times are they worth it? To find out I dragged Mr Jemimah to the recent Pompeii Live broadcast direct from The British Museum but viewed by us at Lowry Vue.
At £12.50 it was a whole £2.50 cheaper than an exhibition ticket not to mention the travel costs and I have to say it was quite good. Just over 50 people sat in the cinema for the first ever live broadcast from The British Museum and spent just under 2 hours being guided around the landmark exhibition by Peter Snow and Bettany Hughes ; an exhibition which is the largest covering the subject in over 40 years. Life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum brings together never before seen artefacts from Naples, some of which have never been out of the country, and those from the British Museum to show life and death in Pompeii and Herculaneum which was preserved in ash for over 1,500 years. Discovered in 1599 and then again in 1748 by Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre, Pompeii remains largely unexcavated; conservative estimates put it at only a third discovered but discoveries so far range from the prosaic with entire garden rooms to the macabre with the plaster casts of the people killed. Highlights for me were the tours given by Professor Mary Beard who discussed the Roman attitude to sex - there's a lot of sex on display in the Roman city from artefacts uncovered including the roman equivalent of a tea light holder of flying phalluses and Paul Roberts, the exhibition curator who took us through some of the more amazing finds such as a wooden bedding trunk containing its linen; both carbonised with the intense heat from the pyroclastic surges. The sheer heat of the explosions meant that artefacts (and people) were dessicated almost instantly which has helped crystallise a snapshot of Roman life down to the pomegranates in their bowls and bread straight from the oven. The pros of the cinema live event are of course a guided tour by experts in the field discussing selected items in more detail than you could ever glean from an exhibition brochure as well as the fact that you can actually see the exhibits rather than it being a bun fight to get anywhere near an item for an extended period of time. The cons were that obviously you're seeing items that have been picked by somebody else and are not necessarily what you would view yourself; naturally this means you are only seeing a fraction of the items on display and, it could be argued, not seeing them "in the flesh" detracts somewhat from the way you can relate to them.
Would I go to another "live" event? Certainly. I'm sure that if you were so inclined you could use an event like this as an appetiser to an actual visit but it's certainly an evening well spent; next time I might follow the lead of some of the other attendees and take some wine and nibbles. Well, when in Rome.......
Forthcoming "live" events include a season by the Royal National Opera, broadcasts from the National Theatre including Macbeth live from the Manchester International Festival and the upcoming Vermere exhibition. More details can be found on the cinema websites:
More details on Life and death
Pompeii and Herculaneum which runs until 29 September 2013 on: