The Bardathon

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The Troublesome Reign of King John (Shakespeare’s Globe / Read not Dead) @ Inner Temple

At a hair under four hours (including stalling around the interval), the Globe’s Read not Dead reading of The Troublesome Reign of King John was one of the costliest productions I’ve been to for a long time, causing me to miss my carefully planned coach home from London and buy a new train ticket for …

Macbeth (Filter) @ Liverpool Everyman

Filter is one of my favourite theatre companies, whether for its wonderfully anarchic Shakespeare productions or for its thought-provoking new writing, so it is with no small regret that I have to confess to disappointment at Macbeth. The raw materials of Filter’s work – an exposed production of sound, musicians at the heart of action, …

Love’s Labour’s Lost (RSC/Live from Stratford) @ The Broadway Cinema, Nottingham

The pairing of Love’s Labour’s Lost with Much Ado about Nothing in the RSC’s current season has caused no small amount of comment. The controversial retitling of the latter play as Love’s Labour’s Won is a publicity stunt although not without merit – the implication that the two plays are narrative sequels is bunk, but …

Propelling Edward III (Propeller) @ Wimbledon College of Arts

I was privileged this weekend to take part in an experimental two-day event at Wimbledon College of Arts with Propeller, a company on whom I’ve been working for some time (as well as providing talks for at Nottingham Theatre Royal). The event was designed as a collaborative venture between practice and research as part of …

The Changeling (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Note: This review is based on a preview performance. The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, as with its more established counterpart, works much better for comedy than tragedy, in my eyes at least. The one outstanding success of the theatre so far has been its side-splitting The Knight of the Burning Pestle, but even in its tragedies …

‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

The 2014 winter season at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse brings together a range of plays that exemplify what Susan Bennett and others refer to as the ‘Jacobean’ – less a specific historical period and more an aesthetic established as oppositional to Shakespeare, foregrounding sex, violence and abandon. This aesthetic usually updates the setting and cultural …

Measure for Measure (Cheek by Jowl) @ The Pushkin Theatre, Moscow

At a hair under two hours long, Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod’s Measure for Measure stripped the play back to its bare bones. Elbow’s subplot was gone, Pompey’s tenure as hangman reduced to a few fragmented lines, Lucio’s relationship with the disguised Duke barely alluded to. In place of the intersecting subplots, Donnellan’s direction asserted …

Ubu Roi (Cheek by Jowl) @ Theatre of Nations, Moscow

Normally I would not be writing about a production of a Jarry play on this blog. However, given that the play itself draws liberally on Macbeth, Richard III and Hamlet; that this production is by a company about whom I am preparing to write a book; and that I’ve travelled to Moscow in order to …

The Witch of Edmonton (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

(note – this review is of a preview performance) The Roaring Girls season, discussed in previous posts on this blog, ended with an entirely untypical coda. Directed by a man (Gregory Doran), given an early modern setting and appearing divorced from the statements about feminism and gender roles within the RSC that had characterised the …

A Christian Turn’d Turk (Read Not Dead) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Back in May, four teams of paired scholars and directors took the stage at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse to pitch for the return of a classic Read Not Dead production. We could have had Middleton’s Your Five Gallants. We could have had Lyly’s Sappho and Phao (though perhaps Lyly needs have been better met recently …