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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 …

The Two Noble Kinsmen (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

Just over a decade since I saw the RSC’s Canterbury Tales company offer a fascinating script-in-hand staging of The Two Noble Kinsmen, it was a pleasure to return to the Swan at last for a full-scale professional production, especially in the hands of Blanche McIntyre, fresh from a superb Noises Off at Nottingham Playhouse. While …

The Tempest (RSC/Live from Stratford) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

Much has been made about the technical innovations of the RSC’s current production of The Tempest. Taking the (somewhat tenuous) premise that the play was designed as Shakespeare’s greatest experiment with the cutting-edge technologies of his own time, the RSC has partnered with Intel and Andy Serkis’s Imaginarium studio to create a series of avatars …

Richard II (National Theatre/Illuminations) on DVD

We owe Illuminations a huge debt of gratitude. Its ongoing ‘Screen Plays’ series, reviving and making available classic television productions, has already brought us An Age of Kings and The Wars of the Roses, and now it delivers a beautifully transferred recording of Deborah Warner’s seminal Richard II, the 1997 television version of the 1995 …

Lear/Cordelia (1623 Theatre Company) @ Derby Theatres Studio

1623 Theatre’s latest production was one of their most ambitious to date: a one-act adaptation of King Lear followed by a new response play, Farrah Chaudhry’s Cordelia, with an accompanying set of workshops, talks and resources designed to link the play to dementia support and broader accessibility. On the evening I saw it, a huge …

Pericles (University College Cork/LittleShoes Productions) @ The Unitarian Church, Cork

I spent the first half of last week in Cork for the event ‘Celebrating Shakespeare 400: Performing Pericles, Prince of Tyre’. Part of the extensive Irish Shakespeare festival commemorating the 400 years since Shakespeare’s death, this event was billed as offering what appears to be only the second ever performance of Pericles in Ireland, coupled …

The Revenger’s Tragedy @ Nottingham Playhouse

NB This review is based on a preview performance. The most striking image of Fiona Buffini’s new production of The Revenger’s Tragedy was that of the opening, with a narrow shaft of light from on high illuminating a skull sat on a chair. Then, to the sound of T-Rex’s ‘Children of the Revolution’, the Duke, …

Iyalode of Eti (Utopia Theatre) @ Sheffield Theatres Studio

Utopia Theatre has been producing works rooted in the experience of the West African diaspora for a few years now, promoting the work of BAME actors and resituating classic texts in a Yoruban context. Perhaps predictably, the company’s first foray into early modern drama was the perennial Romeo and Juliet, adapted in Nigeria as This …

Mucedorus (Hull School of Drama, Music and Screen) @ The Donald Roy Theatre

Mucedorus (one of the very few ‘apocryphal’ plays I’ve not hitherto managed to see in the theatre, and yet the one on which I’ve spent most time) has perversely suffered from its reputation as the most ‘popular’ play of the early modern period (where ‘popularity’ is understood as a count of reprints, a measure with …

The Complete Deaths (Spymonkey) @ Hull Truck

It’s almost thirty years since the Reduced Shakespeare Company launched its mission of comprehensive compression, culminating in a repeated, increasingly speedy depiction of all of the deaths in Hamlet. Spymonkey, in their first Shakespeare-themed show, have now taken up their mantle with a full show devoted entirely to staging all of the onstage deaths in …