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Measure for Measure (RSC/Live from Stratford-upon-Avon) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

Gregory Doran’s new Measure for Measure seemed, at times, to be almost defiantly setting itself against ‘relevance’. Eschewing the contemporary settings of several recent productions that have more explicitly responded to the #MeToo moment and the abuses of power in the highest offices (whether political, entertainment, sports), Doran returned to the text’s setting of Vienna, but updated …

Timon of Athens (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

It’s impossible to get away from Simon Godwin at the moment. His RSC Hamlet has only just finished touring; his Antony and Cleopatra at the National has been winning awards, and he’s just about to take up the artistic directorship of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC, as well as directing a production in …

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 …

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 …