// Archives

Antony and Cleopatra (National Theatre/NT Live) @ Broadway Cinema

In November, Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo became the first pair of co-leads in over thirty years to win the two Best Actor prizes at the Evening Standard Theatre awards. The casting alone, perhaps, made this not entirely unexpected; two Oscar-nominated actors in a big prestige National Theatre production directed by Simon Godwin, in one …

Twelfth Night (Shanty Productions)

Twelfth Night is Shanty Productions’ debut film, as well as the feature debut of director/adaptor Adam Smethurst. It’s quite a launch for an independent film company, with a truly excellent cast, fine use of the West Sussex countryside, and an effective publicity machine. And while the film betrays some awkwardness in its execution and some …

Measure for Measure @ The Donmar Warehouse

NB: this piece is based on a preview performance. When Josie Rourke announced that she would be staging a radical revisioning of Measure for Measure that would involve the actors playing Angelo and Isabella switching roles halfway through, there was no way she could have known the context in which the first previews would be …

Queen Margaret @ The Royal Exchange, Manchester

The idea of rewriting Shakespeare’s first tetralogy to focus on the character of Queen Margaret – the only character to appear alive in all four plays – is a good one, though not original; Charlene Smith’s research has found some twenty-six, with more doubtless to be turned up. Still, it’s rare for one to come …

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 …

Othello @ Shakespeare’s Globe

A lot of the commentary around Claire van Kampen’s new production of Othello at the Globe has concerned the laughter being aroused by the production; and, as ever, this commentary roughly takes two different angles. Is the laughter part of a company strategy that is deliberately mining the comedy in the play? Or are the …

The Tempest (Donmar/Illuminations) @ BBC iPlayer

In the final entry in Phyllida Lloyd’s Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy, it is Harriet Walter’s turn to take the stand for a testimony at the start of the performance. The oldest prisoner at 66, ‘Hannah’ was the getaway driver for a politically motivated bank robbery which ended with two police officers dead. Refusing to recognise the …

Henry IV (Donmar/Illuminations) @ BBC iPlayer

Following the release of Julius Caesar in cinemas last year, Phyllida Lloyd’s ‘Donmar Trilogy’ is finally available on BBC iPlayer, giving me the chance to belatedly catch up with Henry IV and The Tempest. The films, with live camera direction by Rhodri Huw, offer an extraordinary document of an extraordinary theatrical event, and one can …

As You Like It @ Shakespeare’s Globe

Everyone who complained about Michelle Terry ‘casting herself’ as Hamlet in the Globe ensemble’s other production should be forced to watch the joyful (and, imho, superior) As You Like It, and use the same logic to account for the Globe’s Artistic Director, on hands and knees, scraping along the floor and baaing as one of …

The Two Noble Kinsmen @ Shakespeare’s Globe

Barrie Rutter’s Northern Broadsides were one of the first companies to perform in the incipient Shakespeare’s Globe, and in many ways that company’s ensemble ethos, physicality and love of music make them ideal inhabitants of the outdoor amphitheatre. In his first production since retiring from Broadsides, Rutter showed no sign of leaving behind that company’s …