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Teenage Dick @ The Donmar Warehouse

The best high-school Shakespeare adaptations don’t simply look for one-on-one equivalences in their new milieu for the Shakespearean text, but engage deeply with the concerns, clichés, and stakes of their environment. To translate wars and intrigues to basketball courts or class president elections does not require matters to be trivialised simply because they are no …

Measure for Measure @ The Donmar Warehouse

NB: this piece is based on a preview performance. When Josie Rourke announced that she would be staging a radical revisioning of Measure for Measure that would involve the actors playing Angelo and Isabella switching roles halfway through, there was no way she could have known the context in which the first previews would be …

The Tempest (Donmar/Illuminations) @ BBC iPlayer

In the final entry in Phyllida Lloyd’s Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy, it is Harriet Walter’s turn to take the stand for a testimony at the start of the performance. The oldest prisoner at 66, ‘Hannah’ was the getaway driver for a politically motivated bank robbery which ended with two police officers dead. Refusing to recognise the …

Henry IV (Donmar/Illuminations) @ BBC iPlayer

Following the release of Julius Caesar in cinemas last year, Phyllida Lloyd’s ‘Donmar Trilogy’ is finally available on BBC iPlayer, giving me the chance to belatedly catch up with Henry IV and The Tempest. The films, with live camera direction by Rhodri Huw, offer an extraordinary document of an extraordinary theatrical event, and one can …

Julius Caesar (Donmar/Illuminations) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

I missed all performances of Phyllida Lloyd’s Shakespeare Trilogy when they originally played at the Donmar and, latterly, King’s Cross, so I was thrilled to hear that they would be coming to cinemas. The suddenness of Julius Caesar’s appearance, and the relative lack of marketing, were hugely disappointing, however. Whereas NT Live and Live from …

Coriolanus (Donmar/NT Live) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

The Hiddleston effect is a very tangible thing. As the stalwart Emma Freud reminded international audiences in what was, frankly, the most banal interval interview NT Live has yet managed (which is saying something), Tom Hiddleston was recently voted Sexiest Man Alive by MTV, and his Coriolanus attracted the youngest audience I’ve yet seen to …

King Lear (Donmar/NT Live) @ Warwick Arts Centre Cinema

Writing about web page http://www.donmarwarehouse.com/pl114.html Poor Paul Jesson. As Gloucester in Michael Grandage’s award-winning production of King Lear, last night he delivered one of the most powerful renditions of the Dover cliffs scene that I’ve ever been privileged to see. Accompanied by Gwilym Lee as Edgar, he shuffled across the bare bleached boards of the …

The Donmar King Lear

I genuinely don’t know how excited I am about this – Michael Grandage is directing Derek Jacobi in King Lear at the Donmar, opening in December. I’ve enjoyed the three Grandage productions I’ve seen, but they have all been rather safe, which is the same reaction I’ve had to Jacobi’s performances in the past. Still, …

Hamlet (Donmar West End) @ Wyndham’s Theatre

I booked to see the Donmar’s major new Hamlet some eighteen months ago, taking an unusual step for me by paying top whack to get front row stalls seats. The idea was that this would be an end of year treat, a production I was going to purely for fun. That was back when Kenneth …

Twelfth Night (Donmar) @ The Wyndham’s Theatre

Writing about web page http://www.donmarwestend.com/twelfth_night/ Michael Grandage’s first Shakespeare for the Donmar’s current West End residency opened, quite literally, with a bang, a mighty crash of thunder and lightning. This call to attention opened an efficient and excellently-performed Twelfth Night that was unashamedly traditional in its desire to please and entertain. An unfussy set saw the …