The Bardathon

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Measure for Measure (Cheek by Jowl) @ The Silk Street Theatre, Barbican

These notes supplement my review of the production in Moscow, here. The production I travelled to Moscow to see performed before a native speaking audience has made it at last to the UK, with a new Duke, an updated design and English-language (Shakespearean) surtitles. Although Cheek by Jowl defines itself as a multinational company, performances …

King Lear (Northern Broadsides) @ West Yorkshire Playhouse

A collaboration between great guest director and great company can create really wonderful work. The last time I saw a production by Jonathan Miller, it was his wonderful Hamlet at the Tobacco Factory, the first time that company had been directed by someone other than Andrew Hilton. And Northern Broadsides are always a joy to …

William Shakespeare: A Very Short Introduction by Stanley Wells

This month, Oxford University Press publishes William Shakespeare: A Very Short Introduction by one of the most esteemed living authors on Shakespeare, Stanley Wells. Wells, in addition to being one of our finest textual scholars, has devoted much of the last decade to a series of books aimed at a popular market, expanding his role …

Hamlet (Royal Exchange) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

Watching the Royal Exchange production of Hamlet on the big screen, in a specially recorded film version (still performed in front of an audience, but with a certain amount of editing work to make the most of key images), brought home to me the significance of much of the production’s work. While I enjoyed the …

The Revenger’s Tragedy (Lazarus Theatre Company) @ The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

At ninety minutes long, Lazarus Theatre’s take on Middleton’s seminal revenge tragedy still felt leaden and ponderous, a dull take on a sparkling play. While the production was full of ideas and some striking performances, the eclectic cutting and rigid spatial organisation rendered the play frequently unintelligible and confusingly abrupt, obfuscating rather than clarifying the …

The Broken Heart (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

My complaint about tragedies at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse so far has been the productions’ frustrating collective failure to realise that this is a space in which less can be more. In what seems to me to be a lack of confidence in the work of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, the tendency has been to ramp up …

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 …