Stephen Fry was live at the Royal Festival Hall last night launching the latest volume of his autobiography. It looked like a fun event, but tickets sold out quite quickly, and schlepping into London on a Monday evening is a bit of a pain in the bum anyway. Conveniently, then, the event was also broadcast live to cinemas around the country, the local Vue being considerably easier to pop along to.
The broadcast worked really well; you still got the sense of being in an audience for a performance as a shared experience, with the laughter and reactions that you just don’t get watching on a television at home. Fry read a few excerpts from the book, chatted away rather splendidly, and did an uncanny impersonation of Hugh Laurie (even if only saying “hullo!”)
It definitely seems like it could be the way forward for acts who can sell out massive venues but aren’t really suited to them; Flight of the Conchords at Wembley Arena spring to mind, or most stand-ups in similar size venues where, for a good chunk of the audience, the performer is so far away they end up watching the big screens anyway.