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Doctor Faustus (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Paulette Randall’s first production for the Globe – and, according to her bio, her first production of an early modern play – made an important statement, taking a play that focuses on the archetypal white male overreacher and casting Jocelyn Jee Esien as the titular Doctor Faustus. It’s part of the Globe’s agenda-setting commitment to …

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 …

All’s Well that Ends Well (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

In the end, I only saw two productions at the Globe while it was under Emma Rice’s leadership. This wasn’t by design – I loved Rice’s work with Kneehigh and, irrespective of the ongoing complaints about her treatment of the space, I thoroughly enjoyed the version of her Midsummer Night’s Dream that the BBC broadcast …

Mucedorus (Read not Dead) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe

Read Not Dead is currently in the grip of the Before Shakespeare project, offering a series of readings curated to show off some of the finest, genre-bending plays of the late sixteenth century. Mucedorus followed The Rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune and Fidele and Fortunio, and I was delighted to join the Before Shakespeare …

Doctor Faustus (Passion in Practice) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

I was privileged this week to spend several days in rehearsals with Passion in Practice on their new staged reading of Doctor Faustus. Practice and Passion is a long-term rolling ensemble project devoted to the exploration of original pronunciation and, as I’m currently editing the play for a new anthology, the company kindly offered me …

Cymbeline (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Will Tosh’s essay in the programme for Cymbeline considers how that play – and others of this era of the King’s Men – were written to exploit the available technologies of the recently acquired Blackfriars Playhouse. It seems fitting, to that end, that Sam Yates’s production of Cymbeline itself makes flexible use of what is …

Pericles (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Dominic Dromgoole’s tenure as Artistic Director of the Globe is ending, perhaps unsurprisingly, with stagings of four of Shakespeare’s ‘late plays’ as the first full Shakespeare productions in the Sam Wanamaker. Pericles, the first of these, plays to Dromgoole’s strengths: a rousing, varied play with huge shifts in tone, varied environments and a large ensemble …

The Broken Heart (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

My complaint about tragedies at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse so far has been the productions’ frustrating collective failure to realise that this is a space in which less can be more. In what seems to me to be a lack of confidence in the work of Shakespeare’s contemporaries, the tendency has been to ramp up …

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 …

‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

The 2014 winter season at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse brings together a range of plays that exemplify what Susan Bennett and others refer to as the ‘Jacobean’ – less a specific historical period and more an aesthetic established as oppositional to Shakespeare, foregrounding sex, violence and abandon. This aesthetic usually updates the setting and cultural …