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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 …

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 …

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 …

Macbeth (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Macbeth – which of course, may well have been adapted for the King’s Men after the company’s acquisition of the Blackfriars – seems ideally suited to the chiaroscuro potential of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. More so than any production I’ve seen there since The Duchess of Malfi, Robert Hastie’s production played with the sounds that …

Emilia @ Shakespeare’s Globe

All summer, the Globe has been playing fast and loose with the meaningfulness of the name ‘Emilia’ recurring in three of this season’s plays (Othello, The Winter’s Tale, The Two Noble Kinsmen). Along with implying that audiences can ‘follow’ the character through the plays (thankfully, the individual productions made no attempt to force the connection), …

Othello @ Shakespeare’s Globe

A lot of the commentary around Claire van Kampen’s new production of Othello at the Globe has concerned the laughter being aroused by the production; and, as ever, this commentary roughly takes two different angles. Is the laughter part of a company strategy that is deliberately mining the comedy in the play? Or are the …

As You Like It @ Shakespeare’s Globe

Everyone who complained about Michelle Terry ‘casting herself’ as Hamlet in the Globe ensemble’s other production should be forced to watch the joyful (and, imho, superior) As You Like It, and use the same logic to account for the Globe’s Artistic Director, on hands and knees, scraping along the floor and baaing as one of …

The Two Noble Kinsmen @ Shakespeare’s Globe

Barrie Rutter’s Northern Broadsides were one of the first companies to perform in the incipient Shakespeare’s Globe, and in many ways that company’s ensemble ethos, physicality and love of music make them ideal inhabitants of the outdoor amphitheatre. In his first production since retiring from Broadsides, Rutter showed no sign of leaving behind that company’s …

The Winter’s Tale @ Shakespeare’s Globe

Ever since I was blown away by the Globe’s touring production of The Winter’s Tale a decade ago, I’ve been longing to see the play in the main Globe space. For better or worse, the theatre is a natural enabler of laughter; so how does the final awakening of faith, the injunction not to stir, …