The Bardathon

// Latest Posts

The Jew of Malta (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Seeing The Jew of Malta immediately after seeing Volpone, with both performed by the same ensemble, brings out some surprising similarities between two very different plays. Both feature states with a severe – and arguably corrupt – rule of law; both feature a rich role-player as the morally deficient protagonist who deploys alternative personas as …

Volpone (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

If Trevor Nunn’s superlative production of Volpone established just one thing, it is that Jonson’s finest play (cue debate) demands a tour de force performance from its lead. In Henry Goodman, Nunn found the perfect shapeshifter. Goodman, a stage stalwart without the celebrity baggage that fixes the persona of some other leading actors, had the …

The Merchant of Venice (RSC/Live from Stratford) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

Last night’s broadcast of The Merchant of Venice was one of the more fraught of the RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon screenings so far. Perhaps it was the reflective glitter of the golden mirrored wall that towered over the set, but the picture quality was much fuzzier than I’ve seen it for any live broadcast so …

Everyman (National Theatre/NT Live) @ The Broadway Cinema, Nottingham

The introduction to Chiwitel Ejiofor’s Everyman and his friends, a sequence that must have taken up a good ten minutes of drug snorting, swearing, shagging, drinking, fighting, dancing and selfie-snapping, set out Rufus Norris and Javier de Frutos’s new Everyman as achingly, perhaps even desperately, ‘contemporary’. Distilling the vices of the modern world (particularly the …

King John @ Shakespeare’s Globe

The final performance of the Globe’s King John (claimed by Dominic Dromgoole to be the last Shakespeare play to receive a production at the theatre, although he is clearly excluding more recent attributions) took place on a sweltering summer evening and was punctuated by fainting. With the play’s religious ritual foregrounded through canopies and incense, …

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Theatre for a New Audience) @ Nottingham Broadway

I’m yet, to my memory, to see a professional Shakespeare production in the US, so the decision to film and broadcast Julie Taymor’s spectacular thrust-stage take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a welcome one. Notwithstanding Spiderman (and perhaps that show’s cataclysmic production history unfairly detracts from the ambition and achievement therein), Taymor’s proven ability …

Love’s Sacrifice (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre, Stratford

It is a little dispiriting to find the first of this summer’s Swan plays is another Caroline revenge tragedy in which women are dragged around by their hair and thrown to the ground. This directorial shorthand for women-being-treated-badly is becoming worryingly de rigueur, and its shock-value diminishes with constant repetition and normalisation, especially at the …

Romeo and Juliet in Harlem (dir. Aleta Chapelle) @ Warwick Arts Centre Cinema

The second of the two films in Warwick’s annual Shakespeare Film Day was a very special occasion – the first screening in the UK (probably) of the first Shakespeare film made by an African-American woman. Aleta Chappelle’s most significant feature as director to date, which used a crowd-funded trailer to attract funding, is a low budget …

Haider (dir. Vishal Bhardwaj) @ Warwick Arts Centre Cinema

The third of Vishal Bhardwaj’s trilogy of Indian Shakespeare adaptations, following Maqbool and the excellent Omkara, is his most ambitious yet, and possibly the most aggressively political Shakespeare film I have ever seen. The film, set at the height of troubles in Kashmir in 1995, has been the subject of a huge amount of controversy, …

Measure for Measure (Cheek by Jowl) @ The Barbican – live stream

I have already written two reviews of Cheek by Jowl’s Measure for Measure (here and here), but tonight I had an opportunity to see it again, this time in the company’s first ever live broadcast. Firstly, it’s an extraordinary offering. A prestigious production being broadcast internationally for free online is a bold statement, and canny.  …