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Mucedorus (Read not Dead) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe

Read Not Dead is currently in the grip of the Before Shakespeare project, offering a series of readings curated to show off some of the finest, genre-bending plays of the late sixteenth century. Mucedorus followed The Rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune and Fidele and Fortunio, and I was delighted to join the Before Shakespeare …

Doctor Faustus (Passion in Practice) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

I was privileged this week to spend several days in rehearsals with Passion in Practice on their new staged reading of Doctor Faustus. Practice and Passion is a long-term rolling ensemble project devoted to the exploration of original pronunciation and, as I’m currently editing the play for a new anthology, the company kindly offered me …

The Taming of the Shrew @ Shakespeare’s Globe

NB – this review is of a production still in preview. In fact, not only was the Globe’s new production of The Taming of the Shrew still in preview, but the understudies weren’t yet fully rehearsed, as became apparent as the production’s interval stretched out to half an hour with still no sign of the …

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

Will Tosh’s essay in the programme for Cymbeline considers how that play – and others of this era of the King’s Men – were written to exploit the available technologies of the recently acquired Blackfriars Playhouse. It seems fitting, to that end, that Sam Yates’s production of Cymbeline itself makes flexible use of what is …

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

Dominic Dromgoole’s tenure as Artistic Director of the Globe is ending, perhaps unsurprisingly, with stagings of four of Shakespeare’s ‘late plays’ as the first full Shakespeare productions in the Sam Wanamaker. Pericles, the first of these, plays to Dromgoole’s strengths: a rousing, varied play with huge shifts in tone, varied environments and a large ensemble …

Measure for Measure @ Shakespeare’s Globe

The Globe has two key advantages in staging Measure for Measure. The first, to which I’ll return, is that everyone is always watching. In a play so concerned with surveillance, overhearing, manipulating events from behind the scene, the absolute exposure of the Globe stage breaks down any illusion of privacy, forcing every character to account …

King John @ Shakespeare’s Globe

The final performance of the Globe’s King John (claimed by Dominic Dromgoole to be the last Shakespeare play to receive a production at the theatre, although he is clearly excluding more recent attributions) took place on a sweltering summer evening and was punctuated by fainting. With the play’s religious ritual foregrounded through canopies and incense, …

The Broken Heart (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

My complaint about tragedies at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse so far has been the productions’ frustrating collective failure to realise that this is a space in which less can be more. In what seems to me to be a lack of confidence in the work of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, the tendency has been to ramp up …

The Troublesome Reign of King John (Shakespeare’s Globe / Read not Dead) @ Inner Temple

At a hair under four hours (including stalling around the interval), the Globe’s Read not Dead reading of The Troublesome Reign of King John was one of the costliest productions I’ve been to for a long time, causing me to miss my carefully planned coach home from London and buy a new train ticket for …

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

Note: This review is based on a preview performance. The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, as with its more established counterpart, works much better for comedy than tragedy, in my eyes at least. The one outstanding success of the theatre so far has been its side-splitting The Knight of the Burning Pestle, but even in its tragedies …