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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 …

A Christian Turn’d Turk (Read Not Dead) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Back in May, four teams of paired scholars and directors took the stage at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse to pitch for the return of a classic Read Not Dead production. We could have had Middleton’s Your Five Gallants. We could have had Lyly’s Sappho and Phao (though perhaps Lyly needs have been better met recently …

The Duchess of Malfi (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ BBC4

In a new age of broadcast theatre where the prices for NT Live and Live from Stratford screenings are creeping up (and where the Globe’s own DVDs are still shockingly expensive), it is refreshing and welcome to see The Globe broadcasting its major production of The Duchess of Malfi for free on BBC4. This is, …

The Knight of the Burning Pestle (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Last year, one of my most read blogs was my review of the Globe’s rehearsed reading of Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle as part of the Read not Dead series. That review did the rounds and even got quoted in the Globe’s annual review. What made that performance one of the finest …

The Duchess of Malfi (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

It is an absolute joy to see the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse up and running. Nestled in the Globe’s belly, jutting far into the foyer, this reimagining of a Jacobean indoor theatre is beautiful and invigorating. While its relative newness isn’t entirely to its advantage at the moment (the paint work just a little too crisp, …