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Henry V, or Harry England @ Shakespeare’s Globe

When I saw Sarah Amankwah in Doctor Faustus at the Sam Wanamaker just before Christmas, I expressed a hope that she’d be a regular at the Globe. The fact that, with very little Shakespeare experience behind her, she has then taken the major through-line role of the Henries trilogy as Hal/Henry V, suggests I wasn’t …

Henry IV Part 2, or Falstaff @ Shakespeare’s Globe

As much as I love 2 Henry IV as a stand-alone play, I often find it suffers a little when presented as the middle part of a trilogy. Whereas 1 Henry IV describes a clear arc for Falstaff, in addition to excellent set pieces for the other characters, and Henry V has a stand-alone narrative …

Henry IV Part 1, or Hotspur @ Shakespeare’s Globe

Following the revisioning of England offered by the Globe’s Richard II in the Sam Wanamaker, a different creative team imagined an England that was still under construction in Hotspur, the first in a trilogy performed by a single eleven-person ensemble. The Globe itself seemed partly dismantled, with partially built pillars, panels missing from the tiring …

Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Theatre

What is England? Seeing Richard II the day after yet another missed deadline for the UK’s departure from the EU, in a climate of mass uncertainty about the nature of sovereignty and the future of the country, unavoidably presented difficult questions about what is at stake, both in the play and now. The uneasy laughter …

The Taming of the Shrew (RSC) @ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

The setting for the RSC’s 2019 The Taming of the Shrew, the latest in a long line of attempts to find a way of making the play palatable as a comedy for the twenty-first century, ventured into the realms of speculative fiction. Director Justin Audibert’s concept imagined an alternative sixteenth century in which women were …

Much Ado about Nothing (Northern Broadsides) @ Derby Theatre

Conrad Nelson’s swansong production for Northern Broadsides offered a paeon to rural England in its mise-en-scene. A huge cyclorama showed sprawling green fields; sheep baa-ed in the distance and birds tweeted. Lis Evans’s set located the production at the close of World War II, with ‘Dig for Victory!’ posters lining flats at the side of …

Romeo and Juliet (RSC) @ Nottingham Theatre Royal

An entirely unexpected fight broke out at the RSC’s Romeo and Juliet last night, and it wasn’t on stage. As several audience members took action to remonstrate with and ultimately eject someone who was expressing their disapproval for the production’s choices, many other audience members found themselves missing the meeting of the lovers. And when …

Juliet & Romeo (Lost Dog) @ Nottingham Playhouse

What if Romeo and Juliet escaped the crypt together? Lost Dog’s dance production is not the first to explore this question, but perhaps offered one of the more innovative approaches to answering it. This two-person show (plus, at this performance at least, the outstanding BSL interpretation of Clare Edwards) invited its audience into the therapy …

Macbeth (National Theatre) @ Nottingham Theatre Royal

I didn’t hate the National Theatre’s Macbeth when I saw it last April, but I was underwhelmed. The production has since closed in London, been re-cast, and is now touring the country, opening last night at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal. While the production has an entirely new cast, it remained very close to the London version, …

Timon of Athens (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

It’s impossible to get away from Simon Godwin at the moment. His RSC Hamlet has only just finished touring; his Antony and Cleopatra at the National has been winning awards, and he’s just about to take up the artistic directorship of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC, as well as directing a production in …