The Bardathon

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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 …

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 …