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The Two Noble Kinsmen (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

Just over a decade since I saw the RSC’s Canterbury Tales company offer a fascinating script-in-hand staging of The Two Noble Kinsmen, it was a pleasure to return to the Swan at last for a full-scale professional production, especially in the hands of Blanche McIntyre, fresh from a superb Noises Off at Nottingham Playhouse. While …

The Tempest (RSC/Live from Stratford) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

Much has been made about the technical innovations of the RSC’s current production of The Tempest. Taking the (somewhat tenuous) premise that the play was designed as Shakespeare’s greatest experiment with the cutting-edge technologies of his own time, the RSC has partnered with Intel and Andy Serkis’s Imaginarium studio to create a series of avatars …

Hamlet (RSC) @ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

Seeing the same ensemble of actors take on Hamlet two days after Cymbeline, I was struck by the demands placed on a company performing these two long plays together – the mercifully shorter Hamlet still ran to an energetic three hours and fifteen minutes. And this is one of the consistently strongest ensembles I remember …

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 …

The Alchemist (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

The RSC’s contribution to the 400th anniversary of Ben Jonson’s 1616 Folio is a Swan production of The Alchemist, occupying the slot that Volpone took last summer. The RSC invested a large, game cast, one of the biggest bands I’ve seen in the Swan for some time, and a production budget that stretched to a …

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 …

A Midsummer Night’s Dream: A Play for the Nation (RSC/Lovelace Theatre) @ Theatre Royal, Nottingham

The RSC’s much-heralded return to regional touring was already a phenomenon before it opened. Erica Whyman’s audacious experiment is touring a full RSC production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to cities across the UK, with a different amateur theatre company joining them at each venue to play the Mechanicals and a fairy train for Titania …

Henry V (RSC/Live from Stratford-upon-Avon) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

Gregory Doran’s jaunt through the second tetralogy has come to its climax with this, a Henry V lauded by The Telegraph as ‘the production this country needs’. Following some discussions on Twitter, I remain unconvinced by what exactly this country might ‘need’ from Henry V. Leaders born into privilege who disguise their true purposes and …

Othello (RSC/Live from Stratford) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

With the exception of the German production that played for four nights during the Complete Works Festival, it’s been well over a decade since Othello was last on the main stage at the RSC. Of all the plays deemed controversial, from The Taming of the Shrew to The Merchant of Venice, Othello is the one …

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 …