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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 …

Richard II (National Theatre/Illuminations) on DVD

We owe Illuminations a huge debt of gratitude. Its ongoing ‘Screen Plays’ series, reviving and making available classic television productions, has already brought us An Age of Kings and The Wars of the Roses, and now it delivers a beautifully transferred recording of Deborah Warner’s seminal Richard II, the 1997 television version of the 1995 …

Lear/Cordelia (1623 Theatre Company) @ Derby Theatres Studio

1623 Theatre’s latest production was one of their most ambitious to date: a one-act adaptation of King Lear followed by a new response play, Farrah Chaudhry’s Cordelia, with an accompanying set of workshops, talks and resources designed to link the play to dementia support and broader accessibility. On the evening I saw it, a huge …

Pericles (University College Cork/LittleShoes Productions) @ The Unitarian Church, Cork

I spent the first half of last week in Cork for the event ‘Celebrating Shakespeare 400: Performing Pericles, Prince of Tyre’. Part of the extensive Irish Shakespeare festival commemorating the 400 years since Shakespeare’s death, this event was billed as offering what appears to be only the second ever performance of Pericles in Ireland, coupled …

The Complete Deaths (Spymonkey) @ Hull Truck

It’s almost thirty years since the Reduced Shakespeare Company launched its mission of comprehensive compression, culminating in a repeated, increasingly speedy depiction of all of the deaths in Hamlet. Spymonkey, in their first Shakespeare-themed show, have now taken up their mantle with a full show devoted entirely to staging all of the onstage deaths in …

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 …