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Richard III (Northern Broadsides) @ Hull Truck

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I was speaking at a conference in Newcastle on ‘Offensive Shakespeare’, the aim of the event being to theorise ‘offence’ in relation to Shakespeare, whether attempts by practitioners to use Shakespeare to offend; offended reactions to Shakespearean texts and productions; or attempts to deconstruct the icon of Shakespeare him/itself. The conference …

Richard III (Almeida Live) @ Nottingham Broadway

I’d been warned to expect it, but even so, the scene of Ralph Fiennes’s Richard III raping Aislin McGuckin’s Queen Elizabeth towards the end of Rupert Goold’s new production came out of nowhere. Falling late in a mostly intelligent, finely characterised take on the play, Fiennes and McGuckin pulled out all the stops for their …

The Wars of the Roses (RSC/Illuminations) on DVD

The Wars of the Roses is one of those iconic productions – like Peter Brook’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream – that I never expected to get a chance to watch in full. Peter Hall and John Barton’s three-part condensation of the first tetralogy of history plays was one of the resounding triumphs of the young …

Kings of War (Toneelgroep Amsterdam) @ The Barbican Theatre

In 2009 I was lucky enough to see Toneelgroep Amsterdam perform Ivo van Hove’s Roman Tragedies at the Barbican. That mammoth reworking of Coriolanus, Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra remains one of my lifetime theatrical highlights – not just for its length and ambition, but for its cohesive use of space, its innovative flexibility …

Richard III @ The Quarry Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse

Given the spate of stand-alone Richard IIIs since the titular king’s corpse was exhumed in 2012, it’s a brave production that emphasises the wider cycle of otherwise unseen events. Mark Rosenblatt’s bold and spectacular production for West Yorkshire Playhouse began with a group of industrial cleaners scrubbing a white stage clean of the blood left …

Now: In The Wings on a World Stage @ The Broadway, Nottingham

Almost twenty years after Al Pacino had the odd idea of making a documentary about rehearsing a production of Richard III that never actually happened, and releasing Looking for Richard in cinemas, comes the second film about the processes and personalities behind a version of the play. Now follows an actual production, the Bridge Project’s …

An Age of Kings (BBC/Illuminations)

In 1960, the BBC undertook an extraordinary project. Shakespeare’s eight history plays covering the reigns of Richard II, Henry IV, Henry V, Henry VI, Edward IV, Edward V and Richard III were broadcast in fifteen hour-long episodes with a single ensemble company. Rehearsed quickly and recorded live, the films have been unavailable commercially until now, …

Richard III (Silents Now) @ York Theatre Royal

Regular readers may be interested to know that I manage the Twitter hashtag #shaxfilm, an open online extension of my third year specialist module on Screen Shakespeares. The first film we study on this module is Frank Benson’s 1911 Richard III, filmed at the (then) Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon with a fixed camera, preserving …

Richard III @ Nottingham Playhouse

Nottingham Playhouse is advertising its new production of Richard III as the ‘first major staging’ since the discovery of the historical king’s body under that now-infamous car park in Leicester. While this seems a little ungenerous in its implications about Bristol’s Tobacco Factory, the joy of this production will be the chance to see the …

R-3: Hunchback or Hero? (Centre Five Productions) @ Leicester Guildhall

This is a direct reproduction of a review for Exeunt Magazine. As R-3: Hunchback or Hero? was being devised in London in August 2012, the bones of Richard III were discovered serendipitously in Leicester. The revival of the production in Leicester itself was inevitable, and the eerie setting of the Mayor’s Parlour at Leicester’s Guildhall …