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The Revenger’s Tragedy @ Nottingham Playhouse

NB This review is based on a preview performance. The most striking image of Fiona Buffini’s new production of The Revenger’s Tragedy was that of the opening, with a narrow shaft of light from on high illuminating a skull sat on a chair. Then, to the sound of T-Rex’s ‘Children of the Revolution’, the Duke, …

Women Beware Women (American Shakespeare Center) @ The Blackfriars, Staunton, VA

After the previous day’s sprint-to-the-finish The Sea Voyage, it was pleasing to see the ASC ensemble shift the pace for Middleton’s Women Beware Women. This perfectly cast production drew on the established relationships and good humour that have characterised all the shows I’ve seen at the Blackfriars, but also lingered on soliloquies and set-pieces to …

Macbeth @ The Young Vic

The idea of a Macbeth co-directed by a director with classical experience (Carrie Cracknell) and a choreographer (Lucy Guerin) is an intriguing one, especially when this team has had prior success with a provocative Medea at the National. Yet the overall effect of the Young Vic’s new Macbeth was something less than the sum of …

Measure for Measure @ The Young Vic

One key moment in Measure for Measure exemplified the difference between Dominic Dromgoole’s production at the Globe and this, Joe Hill-Gibbins’s very different take at the Young Vic. In Dromgoole’s production, when Mariah Gale’s Isabella promised to claw out Angelo’s eyes, she simply and quietly removed her cap, revealing for the first time her long …

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 …

The Revenger’s Tragedy (Lazarus Theatre Company) @ The Brockley Jack Studio Theatre

At ninety minutes long, Lazarus Theatre’s take on Middleton’s seminal revenge tragedy still felt leaden and ponderous, a dull take on a sparkling play. While the production was full of ideas and some striking performances, the eclectic cutting and rigid spatial organisation rendered the play frequently unintelligible and confusingly abrupt, obfuscating rather than clarifying the …

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 …

The Roaring Girl (RSC) @ The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon

The Roaring Girl is a much better idea than it is a play. The idea of the ‘Roaring Girl’ (the title, of course, of the current Swan season) is a fantastic crucible for exploring ideas of gender identity and sexual performance, and the involved plot of shopkeepers’ wives and rakes about town taking advantage of …

A Mad World, My Masters (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

Unusually for the RSC, the poster to Sean Foley’s new production of A Mad World, My Masters (the second I’ve seen, the first professional) advertises itself prominently as ‘edited by Sean Foley and Phil Porter). This is a frustrating statement to read, partly as it implies on some level that the RSC’s other productions aren’t …

Macbeth (Manchester International Festival) @ NT Live

The camerawork for the NT Live screenings has developed extraordinarily since the project’s early days. Covering Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford’s Macbeth, cameras swooped over the action, fast editing gave a kinetic and chaotic insight into the battle scenes, extreme close-ups caught beads of sweat and tears on Macduff’s face, and the slow pans to …