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The Wars of the Roses (RSC/Illuminations) on DVD

The Wars of the Roses is one of those iconic productions – like Peter Brook’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream – that I never expected to get a chance to watch in full. Peter Hall and John Barton’s three-part condensation of the first tetralogy of history plays was one of the resounding triumphs of the young …

Kings of War (Toneelgroep Amsterdam) @ The Barbican Theatre

In 2009 I was lucky enough to see Toneelgroep Amsterdam perform Ivo van Hove’s Roman Tragedies at the Barbican. That mammoth reworking of Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra remains one of my lifetime theatrical highlights – not just for its length and ambition, but for its cohesive use of space, its innovative flexibility …

An Age of Kings (BBC/Illuminations)

In 1960, the BBC undertook an extraordinary project. Shakespeare’s eight history plays covering the reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III were broadcast in fifteen hour-long episodes with a single ensemble company. Rehearsed quickly and recorded live, the films have been unavailable commercially until now, …

The True Tragedy of The Duke of York (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ York Theatre Royal

3 Henry VI is perhaps the hardest play in the canon to begin, starting as it does with the explosion of the Yorks into the Lancastrian throne room. Nick Bagnall had his actors begin standing with the audience before the proscenium arch, then pulling themselves onto the stage in a rather weak movement. This was, …

Henry VI Part III: The Chaos (Young Rep) @ The Door, Birmingham Repertory Theatre

It’s not unprecedented to produce one part of the Henry VI trilogy in isolation, but it’s an extremely rare occurrence and a financial gamble that few professional theatre companies can afford to take – who’s going to come and see just one part of a trilogy? Yet for their latest production the Young REP have …

Henry VI Part III (RSC) @ The Courtyard Theatre: Highlights

Still full of adrenaline from the ending of the previous part (God only knows how the actors were getting through the day!), I approached Part III with admittedly very high expectations. Happily, they were all met in a fantastic climax to the day. One of my main highlights of this production was Keith Dunphy as …

Henry VI Part III (RSC) @ The Courtyard Theatre

It’s been a busy week for me in Stratford- ‘2 Henry VI’ and ‘Capulets and Montagues’ on Wednesday, long public transport nightmare trip on Friday, ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ yesterday and today, my second viewing of ‘3 Henry VI’. I’m quite glad I decided to see the Henries individually as well as the whole day event- …

Henry VI Trilogy (RSC) @ The Courtyard Theatre

Wow! Yesterday was another big ‘event’ day- the entire Henry VI trilogy in one day, starting at 10.30 in the monring and finishing just after 11 at night. And it was spectacular. I’m seeing the plays again, so I’ll save the detailed comment til then- here I just want to say a bit about the …

Free tickets!

JUNE 27TH 2006 (backdated) One of the big excitements this year is the opening of a new theatre in Stratford, the Courtyard. This is going to replace the main house for a couple of years while they refurbish it, and should be a pretty exciting venue, with thrust stage and an intimate feel in a …