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Tamburlaine (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

Oh, how I’ve missed Michael Boyd. While there’s much I admire about Gregory Doran’s work, the RSC’s output has been at best variable for the last few years, often seeming to be in competition with the thrust stage and falling too often into dully conservative furrows. Boyd’s tenure as Artistic Director was far from perfect, …

Edward II (Lazarus) @ Greenwich Theatre

‘Edward the First is dead’. Announced by a klaxon, this harsh voiceover opened Lazarus’s Edward II with a threat and a challenge. As the audience filed in, the stage had gradually filled with anonymous men, suited but jacket-less and barefoot, walking with measured, stately bobs. The combination of purposeful gait but seemingly random direction created …

Tamburlaine (Yellow Earth) @ The Old Rep, Birmingham

It’s been more than a decade since I last saw a Yellow Earth production, the innovative King Lear that was part of the RSC’s Complete Works Festival, and that managed to simultaneously be boutique and epic. 2017’s short tour of Tamburlaine hit similar notes, with a company of only six actors and one musician performing …

Doctor Faustus (The Jamie Lloyd Company) @ The Duke of York’s Theatre

Jamie Lloyd’s West End production of Doctor Faustus, promoted with a cult celebrity star and promises of a deliberately subversive approach to rewriting and updating the play is a Marmite production. No doubt many will hate the mash-up of A-text and new writing that emerge from a joint writing credit (‘By Christopher Marlowe and Colin …

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 …

Doctor Faustus (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

Watching Maria Aberg’s production of Doctor Faustus in the Swan, I found it hard not to think of A-level drama projects. This isn’t just because I’m speaking at a sixth-form study day at the RSC next month tying in with this production, but because of the deliberately DIY aesthetic of the production, with its gaudy …

The Jew of Malta (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

Seeing The Jew of Malta immediately after seeing Volpone, with both performed by the same ensemble, brings out some surprising similarities between two very different plays. Both feature states with a severe – and arguably corrupt – rule of law; both feature a rich role-player as the morally deficient protagonist who deploys alternative personas as …

Doctor Faustus (Lakeside/Nottingham New Theatre) @ Lakeside Arts Centre

Following last year’s Lysistrata, Nottingham New Theatre continues its collaboration with Lakeside Arts Centre on student productions with a professional spin. Martin Berry’s production, with an all-student cast and professional design and creative team, showcased the spectacular potential of the Lakeside space with a version of Marlowe’s Faustus that situated its protagonist at the centre …

The Massacre at Paris (The Dolphin’s Back) @ The Rose Playhouse, Bankside

At the end of yet another successful Read not Dead reading, over the wine and nibbles laid on by The Globe for the hardworking volunteer actors, coordinator James Wallace fell to chatting with some of the regulars. ‘You know’, mused James, ‘we’re all quite wonderful. We’ve collectively performed hundreds of the most obscure plays of …

Dido, Queen of Carthage (Edward’s Boys) @ Christ Church Banqueting Hall, Oxford

If Gager’s Dido was accompanied by roast belly of pork and a house red, it seemed appropriate that Marlowe’s more playful take on the Dido story was served up alongside a posh version of cream and jelly. Perry Mills took on an intimidatingly huge room with a production that refused to shy away from the …