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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 …

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 …

Second view: Roman Tragedies (Toneelgroep Amsterdam) @ The Barbican

I last saw Roman Tragedies eight years ago, when I was a teeny and energetic PhD student for whom theatrical marathons were par for the course. The production was, at the time, one of the biggest influences on my understanding of theatre; it remains on my mental list of my top five Shakespeare productions, and …

The Winter’s Tale (English National Opera) @ London Coliseum

I’ll be upfront that I am not an opera aficionado; if I remember rightly, the last opera I saw was The Marriage of Figaro about a decade ago in Birmingham. But The Winter’s Tale is a play close to my heart, and so a new opera version by Ryan Wigglesworth, directed by Rory Kinnear in …