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The Taming of the Shew (RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon @ Broadway Cinema

I’ve already written at length about Justin Audibert’s The Taming of the Shrew at the RSC, and a second viewing of it – this time courtesy of free tickets to the live broadcast, with thanks to the RSC social media team – helped clarify much of what makes the production work, but gave me little further insight …

The Taming of the Shrew (RSC) @ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

The setting for the RSC’s 2019 The Taming of the Shrew, the latest in a long line of attempts to find a way of making the play palatable as a comedy for the twenty-first century, ventured into the realms of speculative fiction. Director Justin Audibert’s concept imagined an alternative sixteenth century in which women were …

Troilus and Cressida (RSC/Live from Stratford) @ Broadway Cinema

As a regular at Nottingham Broadway’s screenings of the Live from Stratford-upon-Avon broadcasts, it was dispiriting to see an audience barely a third of the usual size at the broadcast of the rarely-staged Troilus and Cressida; doubly so when this was one of the RSC’s most pleasingly innovative productions for some time. Following the Globe’s …

The Merry Wives of Windsor (RSC/Live from Stratford-upon-Avon) @ Broadway, Nottingham

I’ll get this out of the way first; the opening sequence of the RSC’s The Merry Wives of Windsor is in competition for the worst thing I’ve ever seen on the RSC stage. Over the silhouette of a town was heard the voice of a messenger arriving at William Shakespeare’s lodgings, bearing a letter from …

Macbeth (RSC Live from Stratford) @ Nottingham Broadway

At the moment of Duncan’s death, a timer set at two hours appeared on the upstage wall, and began counting down. Polly Findlay’s Macbeth – and Christopher Ecclestone’s titular monarch – shifted from that point into an inevitable decline, the ever-present clock reminding Macbeth of the inevitable consequences of his fatal action. And with two …

Twelfth Night (RSC) @ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

The RSC’s Christmas show, Twelfth Night, saw the creative team behind the popular Love’s Labour’s Lost/Won double bill (director Christopher Luscombe, designer Simon Higlett, composer Nigel Hess, movement director Jenny Arnold) reunite for a production that had all of the flaws and few of the redeeming features of the earlier productions. Twelfth Night had its …

Coriolanus (RSC/Live from Stratford) @ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre/Nottingham Broadway

Much was made in the pre-show paratexts for the RSC’s live broadcast of Coriolanus of the play’s contemporaneity, and at the same time the general nature of that contemporaneity. Coriolanus, as Haydn Gwynne suggested, is a play that always feels contemporary. In fact, this was one of the least specifically resonant Coriolani(?) I’ve seen for …

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 …

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 …