The Bardathon

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The White Devil (Royal Shakespeare Company) @ The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon

Webster epitomises what critics such as Susan Bennett, Pascale Aebischer and Kathryn Prince have termed ‘the Jacobean’, in the sense that refers not to the literal historical period but the subset of early modern drama which usually commands an aesthetic prioritising sex, violence, spectacle and excess. Maria Aberg, who in her previous shows at the …

The Roaring Girl (RSC) @ The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon

The Roaring Girl is a much better idea than it is a play. The idea of the ‘Roaring Girl’ (the title, of course, of the current Swan season) is a fantastic crucible for exploring ideas of gender identity and sexual performance, and the involved plot of shopkeepers’ wives and rakes about town taking advantage of …

Arden of Faversham (Royal Shakespeare Company) @ The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon

In a year in which MacDonald P. Jackson’s new book has fairly definitively established the case for the place of Arden of Faversham in the Shakespeare canon, it’s rather refreshing to see a production of the play at the RSC that leans in no way upon Shakespeare, attributing the play to ‘Anonymous’ (much as Terry …

The Comedy of Errors (Pendley Shakespeare Festival) @ Pendley Manor

The Pendley Shakespeare Festival is one of the grandest exemplars of the British tradition for summer amateur Shakespeare performed outdoors. Now in its sixty-fifth year, the Festival boasts an extraordinarily beautiful setting in the grounds of a 4* hotel that also plays host to a flock of peacocks, covered seating stands for some 400 audience …

The Tempest (Gloucestershire Youth Players) @ The Tobacco Factory, Bristol

Gloucestershire Youth Players has been touring productions of Shakespeare for nine years, and its 2014 production of The Tempest marks the first time the ensemble has used a professional theatre, concluding its tour (which also took in the Dell in Stratford-upon-Avon) with two performances in Bristol’s Tobacco Factory. It’s a pleasure to see a youth …

Hamlet (Yohangza Theatre) @ The Peacock Theatre, London

A raised platform thrust upwards from a bed of fine gravel, while towering tapestries on three sides of the stage depicted ancient Korean men and women in formal postures and brightly coloured clothes. Onto this stage stepped a man in black, reading a Penguin edition of Hamlet, who began speaking words whose cadences, even if …

Titus Andronicus @ Shakespeare’s Globe

As with the 2006 original production, the current revival of Lucy Bailey’s Titus Andronicus has been making headlines for its experiential elements rather than for the performance itself. Specifically, yet again, the audience has been fainting in droves. There’s a culture of expectation around the fainting for this production fuelled by the media and Twittersphere, …

Midsummer Mischief (Royal Shakespeare Company) @ The Other Place at the Courtyard Theatre

At one point during a day of events forming the RSC’s Midsummer Mischief festival of new writing and vocal women, festival coordinator and RSC Deputy Artistic Director Erica Whyman expressed her frustration that professional critics have so far focused almost entirely on the wonderful strangeness – even the victory – of having a whole season …

Henry IV Part 2 (RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

There were over a hundred spare seats at the Broadway last night for the RSC’s live streaming of Henry IV Part 2. After years of being used to sold-out screenings of NT Live broadcasts, I can but speculate over the reasons for this.No doubt the time of year, the lack of a major film or …

Now: In The Wings on a World Stage @ The Broadway, Nottingham

Almost twenty years after Al Pacino had the odd idea of making a documentary about rehearsing a production of Richard III that never actually happened, and releasing Looking for Richard in cinemas, comes the second film about the processes and personalities behind a version of the play. Now follows an actual production, the Bridge Project’s …