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Everyman (National Theatre/NT Live) @ The Broadway Cinema, Nottingham

The introduction to Chiwitel Ejiofor’s Everyman and his friends, a sequence that must have taken up a good ten minutes of drug snorting, swearing, shagging, drinking, fighting, dancing and selfie-snapping, set out Rufus Norris and Javier de Frutos’s new Everyman as achingly, perhaps even desperately, ‘contemporary’. Distilling the vices of the modern world (particularly the …

King Lear (National Theatre/NT Live) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

This is the second time NT Live has broadcast a version of King Lear. The first, back in 2011, was the Donmar’s extraordinary pared-down version starring Derek Jacobi, drawing its power from the intimate, bare set and performances that utilised whispers to wonderful effect. By contrast, Sam Mendes’ new production for the Olivier was an …

Edward II (National) @ The Olivier, National Theatre

Christopher Marlowe’s Edward II is an obvious companion piece to Shakespeare’s Richard II, both dealing with the deposition of a king arguably more preoccupied with his friends and sycophants than with his kingdom, and the two have been performed together frequently (including most famously with Ian McKellen in the dual leads, making explicit the homosexual …

Timon of Athens (National Theatre/NT Live) @ The Broadway Cinema, Nottingham

As has been the case for certain previous NT Live productions, tonight’s broadcast of Timon of Athens marked the end of a lengthy and critically acclaimed run for a major National Theatre production. The use of the live broadcast format as valediction as well as product extension was explicitly referred to by the ever-present Emma …

Hamlet (National) @ The Olivier Theatre

Writing about web page http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/59866/productions/hamlet.html A lady sitting next to me at yesterday’s matinee commented how nice a change it made to have someone relatively unknown playing Hamlet. Certainly, Rory Kinnear hasn’t made the same mass-media impact yet as David Tennant or Jude Law, but he’s been working his way up, giving stunning performances in …

Women Beware Women (National) @ The Olivier, London

Following The Revenger’s Tragedy a couple of summers back, Middleton is back on the Olivier stage, this time in the guise of Women Beware Women. Not only is this my favourite play by my favourite writer, but it’s directed by the wonderful Marianne Elliott with a stellar cast. Expectations, then, were somewhat high. And yet, …

All’s Well That Ends Well @ The National Theatre (Olivier)

The label of “problem play” has long been regarded as an unhelpful and negatively loaded description for those plays of Shakespeare’s which fit uncomfortably into neat genres, yet in the case of All’s Well That Ends Well, the label has stuck. Marianne Elliott’s new production for the National Theatre, however, made a virtue of the …

The Revenger’s Tragedy @ The National Theatre

The 2008 Middleton Renaissance is underway with two new productions of The Revenger’s Tragedy opening simultaneously at opposite ends of the country. The professional critics saw the Manchester production first, but I’m working the other way round, last night catching the National’s new interpretation. The National went to great lengths to emphasise and jazz up Middleton’s …

Much Ado About Nothing (National Theatre) @ The Olivier

The National’s decision to put on a new Much Ado about Nothing as their main house show over the Christmas period seems to be a slightly odd one, coming so soon after Marianne Elliott’s hugely successful production for the RSC which is still garnering award nominations. Clearly, however, Nicholas Hytner felt there was still something …