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Kings of War (Toneelgroep Amsterdam) @ The Barbican Theatre

In 2009 I was lucky enough to see Toneelgroep Amsterdam perform Ivo van Hove’s Roman Tragedies at the Barbican. That mammoth reworking of Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra remains one of my lifetime theatrical highlights – not just for its length and ambition, but for its cohesive use of space, its innovative flexibility …

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

Will Tosh’s essay in the programme for Cymbeline considers how that play – and others of this era of the King’s Men – were written to exploit the available technologies of the recently acquired Blackfriars Playhouse. It seems fitting, to that end, that Sam Yates’s production of Cymbeline itself makes flexible use of what is …

Othello (Shakespeare Theatre Company) @ Sidney Harman Hall, Washington DC

Much has been made of the casting of an actor of Pakistani descent, Faran Tahir, as a Muslim Othello in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s new production. Artistic Director Michael Kahn, in the production’s programme, suggests that this is a first for the company, and draws specifically on the fallout in the Middle East following the collapse …

Women Beware Women (American Shakespeare Center) @ The Blackfriars, Staunton, VA

After the previous day’s sprint-to-the-finish The Sea Voyage, it was pleasing to see the ASC ensemble shift the pace for Middleton’s Women Beware Women. This perfectly cast production drew on the established relationships and good humour that have characterised all the shows I’ve seen at the Blackfriars, but also lingered on soliloquies and set-pieces to …

The Sea Voyage (American Shakespeare Center) @ The Blackfriars, Staunton, VA

I think I may be the first person to see two separate productions of Fletcher and Massinger’s The Sea Voyage within a couple of months of one another, and I was delighted to see that the play continues to hold up in performance. The American Shakespeare Center’s production was part of the annual Actors’ Renaissance …

The Winter’s Tale (Cheek by Jowl) @ Les Gemeaux

I was planning deliberately not to blog about Cheek by Jowl’s The Winter’s Tale. Not only did I see the first two previews, at a point when (even by Cheek by Jowl’s fluid standards) the show was still developing, but I also spent a few days in rehearsals with the company in December as part …

The Winter’s Tale (Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company/Fiery Angel) @ The Garrick Theatre/The Broadway Cinema

Kenneth Branagh’s company has taken up residence in the Garrick for a year with a fascinating season of new and established plays, some of which will be broadcast live on the same model as NT Live or the RSC’s Live from Stratford. The first screening, of Branagh’s own The Winter’s Tale (co-directed with Rob Ashford), …

The Sea Voyage – Dress Rehearsal (British American Drama Academy) @ The Oval House Theatre

I was privileged to be invited along to a dress rehearsal this week of one of this year’s British American Drama Academy productions, the rarely-staged The Sea Voyage. This is a brilliant scheme, in which troupes of young American actors work with professional directors and designers to create full productions, staged in the Oval House …

Macbeth @ The Young Vic

The idea of a Macbeth co-directed by a director with classical experience (Carrie Cracknell) and a choreographer (Lucy Guerin) is an intriguing one, especially when this team has had prior success with a provocative Medea at the National. Yet the overall effect of the Young Vic’s new Macbeth was something less than the sum of …

The Devil is an Ass (Mercurius) @ The Rose Playhouse, Bankside

Jenny Easton’s production of The Devil is an Ass for Mercurius revived one of Jonson’s finest city comedies in a suitably evocative location. Although most of the action took place on the viewing platform in the Rose Playhouse, the play opened with the sight of Lewis Chandler’s Pug in the far distance, pinned against a …