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The Winter’s Tale (National Theatre) @ The Dorfman

I’m something of a Winter’s Tale completist these days, so it was a joy to get to see the National’s new touring version for young people. Stripped down to an hour and five minutes, Justin Audibert’s pared-down production took a complex and devastating play, and turned it into a heartwarming, and often uncompromising, examination of …

All’s Well that Ends Well (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

In the end, I only saw two productions at the Globe while it was under Emma Rice’s leadership. This wasn’t by design – I loved Rice’s work with Kneehigh and, irrespective of the ongoing complaints about her treatment of the space, I thoroughly enjoyed the version of her Midsummer Night’s Dream that the BBC broadcast …

Edward II (Lazarus) @ Greenwich Theatre

‘Edward the First is dead’. Announced by a klaxon, this harsh voiceover opened Lazarus’s Edward II with a threat and a challenge. As the audience filed in, the stage had gradually filled with anonymous men, suited but jacket-less and barefoot, walking with measured, stately bobs. The combination of purposeful gait but seemingly random direction created …

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 (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 …