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Hamlet (Almeida) @ The Harold Pinter Theatre

My expectations have, over the last few years, been set very low for West End Shakespeare; a result of sitting through so many celebrity-headed, bland and conservative productions. An Almeida transfer of a Robert Icke production, however, and one that prompted such divisive reactions, is a different matter and, even transplanted to a more unfriendly …

Julius Caesar (Donmar/Illuminations) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

I missed all performances of Phyllida Lloyd’s Shakespeare Trilogy when they originally played at the Donmar and, latterly, King’s Cross, so I was thrilled to hear that they would be coming to cinemas. The suddenness of Julius Caesar’s appearance, and the relative lack of marketing, were hugely disappointing, however. Whereas NT Live and Live from …

Macbeth (GSP Studios) – private pre-release screening @ The Courthouse Hotel, London

Macbeth is a play that has a strong association in the imaginary with its implied landscapes. The images of the heaths, mountains, caves and woods of Scotland, first captured in engravings of scenes from the play in the eighteenth century, and culminating in films such as those of Roman Polanski (1971) and Justin Kurzel (2015), …

Julius Caesar (Sheffield Theatres) @ The Crucible

Julius Caesar is having a moment. The RSC are doing it in togas in Stratford; the Donmar’s celebrated all-female production is coming to cinemas in the summer; and Nicholas Hytner is making it his first Shakespeare at the new Bridge Theatre in the new year. It’s also Robert Hastie’s choice for an inaugural production, this …

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 …

The Winter’s Tale (Cheek by Jowl) @ The Barbican: A Year On

Regular readers will know that I’m writing a book on Cheek by Jowl, a labour of love that will hopefully be out in 2018. It’s been fifteen months since I went out to Paris to watch the first two performances of The Winter’s Tale after being afforded the extraordinary privilege of spending a few days …

Second view: Roman Tragedies (Toneelgroep Amsterdam) @ The Barbican

I last saw Roman Tragedies eight years ago, when I was a teeny and energetic PhD student for whom theatrical marathons were par for the course. The production was, at the time, one of the biggest influences on my understanding of theatre; it remains on my mental list of my top five Shakespeare productions, and …

The Winter’s Tale (English National Opera) @ London Coliseum

I’ll be upfront that I am not an opera aficionado; if I remember rightly, the last opera I saw was The Marriage of Figaro about a decade ago in Birmingham. But The Winter’s Tale is a play close to my heart, and so a new opera version by Ryan Wigglesworth, directed by Rory Kinnear in …

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 …