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Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Theatre

What is England? Seeing Richard II the day after yet another missed deadline for the UK’s departure from the EU, in a climate of mass uncertainty about the nature of sovereignty and the future of the country, unavoidably presented difficult questions about what is at stake, both in the play and now. The uneasy laughter …

The Taming of the Shrew (RSC) @ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

The setting for the RSC’s 2019 The Taming of the Shrew, the latest in a long line of attempts to find a way of making the play palatable as a comedy for the twenty-first century, ventured into the realms of speculative fiction. Director Justin Audibert’s concept imagined an alternative sixteenth century in which women were …

After Edward (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Rarely have response plays so explicitly picked up where their prompt play left off. Beginning in blackout, an arm with a lantern reached down from the ceiling of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, momentarily illuminating the auditorium. Then, in the renewed darkness that followed, an almighty crash, before Tom Stuart’s Edward – the actor and character …

Emilia (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Vaudeville Theatre

Emilia’s transfer to the West End, after a short but impactful run at Shakespeare’s Globe last summer, felt like a triumph even before the show opened. A new play on a seventeenth-century female poet, commissioned for only eleven performances at the Globe, doesn’t tick the obvious commercial boxes, but Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s text captured something …

Much Ado about Nothing (Northern Broadsides) @ Derby Theatre

Conrad Nelson’s swansong production for Northern Broadsides offered a paeon to rural England in its mise-en-scene. A huge cyclorama showed sprawling green fields; sheep baa-ed in the distance and birds tweeted. Lis Evans’s set located the production at the close of World War II, with ‘Dig for Victory!’ posters lining flats at the side of …

Juliet & Romeo (Lost Dog) @ Nottingham Playhouse

What if Romeo and Juliet escaped the crypt together? Lost Dog’s dance production is not the first to explore this question, but perhaps offered one of the more innovative approaches to answering it. This two-person show (plus, at this performance at least, the outstanding BSL interpretation of Clare Edwards) invited its audience into the therapy …

Macbeth (National Theatre) @ Nottingham Theatre Royal

I didn’t hate the National Theatre’s Macbeth when I saw it last April, but I was underwhelmed. The production has since closed in London, been re-cast, and is now touring the country, opening last night at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal. While the production has an entirely new cast, it remained very close to the London version, …

Timon of Athens (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

It’s impossible to get away from Simon Godwin at the moment. His RSC Hamlet has only just finished touring; his Antony and Cleopatra at the National has been winning awards, and he’s just about to take up the artistic directorship of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC, as well as directing a production in …

Richard II (Almeida/NT Live) @ Nottingham Broadway Cinema

For those who remember the Berliner Ensemble’s extraordinary Richard II, which came to the UK in 2006 as part of the RSC’s Complete Works Festival, Joe Hill-Gibbins’s new production of the play for the Almeida may have struck a chord. As with that production, this stripped back Richard II – barely 90 minutes long without …

Doctor Faustus (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Paulette Randall’s first production for the Globe – and, according to her bio, her first production of an early modern play – made an important statement, taking a play that focuses on the archetypal white male overreacher and casting Jocelyn Jee Esien as the titular Doctor Faustus. It’s part of the Globe’s agenda-setting commitment to …