// Latest Posts

The Tempest (Bilimankhwe International Theatre) @ Lakeside Arts Centre

Bilimankhwe’s latest project, The Tempest, is a potentially fascinating concept. Bringing together European and African artists, director Kate Stafford cast actors from Malawi and Zimbabwe as Ariel and Caliban, and a multi-racial British cast as the colonising Europeans, building into the production from the start a series of power relationships with the potential to comment …

Coriolanus (RSC/Live from Stratford) @ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre/Nottingham Broadway

Much was made in the pre-show paratexts for the RSC’s live broadcast of Coriolanus of the play’s contemporaneity, and at the same time the general nature of that contemporaneity. Coriolanus, as Haydn Gwynne suggested, is a play that always feels contemporary. In fact, this was one of the least specifically resonant Coriolani(?) I’ve seen for …

Mucedorus (Read not Dead) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe

Read Not Dead is currently in the grip of the Before Shakespeare project, offering a series of readings curated to show off some of the finest, genre-bending plays of the late sixteenth century. Mucedorus followed The Rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune and Fidele and Fortunio, and I was delighted to join the Before Shakespeare …

Hamlet (Almeida) @ The Harold Pinter Theatre

My expectations have, over the last few years, been set very low for West End Shakespeare; a result of sitting through so many celebrity-headed, bland and conservative productions. An Almeida transfer of a Robert Icke production, however, and one that prompted such divisive reactions, is a different matter and, even transplanted to a more unfriendly …

Julius Caesar (Donmar/Illuminations) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

I missed all performances of Phyllida Lloyd’s Shakespeare Trilogy when they originally played at the Donmar and, latterly, King’s Cross, so I was thrilled to hear that they would be coming to cinemas. The suddenness of Julius Caesar’s appearance, and the relative lack of marketing, were hugely disappointing, however. Whereas NT Live and Live from …

Macbeth (GSP Studios) – private pre-release screening @ The Courthouse Hotel, London

Macbeth is a play that has a strong association in the imaginary with its implied landscapes. The images of the heaths, mountains, caves and woods of Scotland, first captured in engravings of scenes from the play in the eighteenth century, and culminating in films such as those of Roman Polanski (1971) and Justin Kurzel (2015), …

Julius Caesar (Sheffield Theatres) @ The Crucible

Julius Caesar is having a moment. The RSC are doing it in togas in Stratford; the Donmar’s celebrated all-female production is coming to cinemas in the summer; and Nicholas Hytner is making it his first Shakespeare at the new Bridge Theatre in the new year. It’s also Robert Hastie’s choice for an inaugural production, this …

Richard III (Northern Broadsides) @ Hull Truck

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was speaking at a conference in Newcastle on ‘Offensive Shakespeare’, the aim of the event being to theorise ‘offence’ in relation to Shakespeare, whether attempts by practitioners to use Shakespeare to offend; offended reactions to Shakespearean texts and productions; or attempts to deconstruct the icon of Shakespeare him/itself. The conference …

The Winter’s Tale (Cheek by Jowl) @ The Barbican: A Year On

Regular readers will know that I’m writing a book on Cheek by Jowl, a labour of love that will hopefully be out in 2018. It’s been fifteen months since I went out to Paris to watch the first two performances of The Winter’s Tale after being afforded the extraordinary privilege of spending a few days …

Tamburlaine (Yellow Earth) @ The Old Rep, Birmingham

It’s been more than a decade since I last saw a Yellow Earth production, the innovative King Lear that was part of the RSC’s Complete Works Festival, and that managed to simultaneously be boutique and epic. 2017’s short tour of Tamburlaine hit similar notes, with a company of only six actors and one musician performing …