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Veeram @ Ulster Museum

One of the many advantages of Ramona Wray and Mark Thornton Burnett hosting this year’s British Shakespeare Association conference in Belfast was that, in line with their research interests, the conference featured an extraordinary line-up of international Shakespearean film. I didn’t get to all, but I was pleased to catch the British premiere of Veeram, …

Ellen Terry’s Very ‘Merry Wives of Windsor’ @ Queen’s University Belfast

The most delightful part of academic conferences is always* the moment when academics get up to put on their own play. Liz Schafer’s contribution to the (now annual) British Shakespeare Association conference was her adaptation of Ellen Terry’s three-scene cut of The Merry Wives of Windsor. Terry’s playlet was a self-created vehicle for her own …

King Lear @ The BBC

Richard Eyre is quite well-represented in the category of made-for-TV films of King Lear; he directed the screen version of his own National Theatre production back in 1998 and now, twenty years later and with a more substantial budget, he directs a rare one-off television film. That budget doesn’t particularly register in the cramped sets, …

Othello (Everyman Company) @ Liverpool Everyman

Liverpool Everyman’s repertory company’s second season brings together a single ensemble for a wonderfully eclectic group of plays – including A Clockwork Orange, Paint Your Wagon and The Big I Am. Othello, perhaps surprisingly, was the smallest scale of the three productions, performed by only eight of the ensemble in the round on a relatively …

Macbeth @ The National Theatre

‘Now, after a civil war’ declared the programme, presaging the latest in a long line of not-quite-now post-apocalyptic settings for a major Shakespearean production. In Rufus Norris’s hands, the concept was at its laziest; not here the specificity of a post-Brexit decline as in Melly Still’s Cymbeline at the RSC. In this Macbeth, Scotland (dominated …

Macbeth (RSC Live from Stratford) @ Nottingham Broadway

At the moment of Duncan’s death, a timer set at two hours appeared on the upstage wall, and began counting down. Polly Findlay’s Macbeth – and Christopher Ecclestone’s titular monarch – shifted from that point into an inevitable decline, the ever-present clock reminding Macbeth of the inevitable consequences of his fatal action. And with two …

Périclès, Prince de Tyr (Cheek by Jowl) @ Les Gémeaux, Sceaux

NB This piece is based on the first two public performance as well as the final two pre-opening rehearsal runs. I am grateful to Cheek by Jowl for so generously allowing me to observe the final stages of preparation. Cheek by Jowl last assayed Pericles in 1984/5 in an acclaimed production that Carole Wood declared …

Julius Caesar @ The Bridge Theatre

On February 14th 2018, two weeks after the new Bridge Theatre’s Julius Caesar opened, seventeen people were killed at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. As part of the international outcry against gun ownership and violence that followed, numerous visceral, devastating accounts of the survivors’ experience of the attack circulated, along with graphic accounts of …

Twelfth Night (RSC) @ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

The RSC’s Christmas show, Twelfth Night, saw the creative team behind the popular Love’s Labour’s Lost/Won double bill (director Christopher Luscombe, designer Simon Higlett, composer Nigel Hess, movement director Jenny Arnold) reunite for a production that had all of the flaws and few of the redeeming features of the earlier productions. Twelfth Night had its …

Richard II (Rutgers Conservatory) @ Shakespeare’s Globe

The Rutgers Conservatory at Shakespeare’s Globe is an extraordinary opportunity for its participants. Transferring to London from Rutgers University for two terms of their third year, students on the University’s theatre programme take an intensive training course with scholars and practitioners at the Globe, culminating in two public performances on the Globe stage. Richard II …