// Latest Posts

The Winter’s Tale (RSC) @ BBC4

It’s become customary to see theatre shows performed in empty auditoria over the last year, but perhaps none quite so grandly empty as the RSC’s new Winter’s Tale. This is a production that has skipped over its own ‘gap of time’ – fully rehearsed but pulled just before it was due to open back in …

Romeo and Juliet (National Theatre) @ Sky Arts

A group of actors gather in a rehearsal room, chatting and laughing; we cut to them sat in chairs, making up three sides of a large square. It looks like meet-and-greet day, only there’s no director, no box set to show. Instead, it’s one of the actors, Lucian Msamati, who speaks, and he’s speaking the Prologue. …

The Duchess of Malfi (Creation/TORCH) @ Zoom

The dynamics of looking within The Duchess of Malfi are subtle and complex. Whether in its moments of extraordinary spectacle, as dismembered bodies are revealed and cardinals are armed, or in the more quotidian business of spying, commenting, and observing from the sidelines, the play repeatedly triangulates the audience’s gaze and engages its onstage and offstage viewers …

Dream Online (Royal Shakespeare Company) @ online

In the post-show talk-back for the RSC’s online virtual-reality Dream, the creative team talked enthusiastically about the ‘potential’ of the medium for creating digital theatre productions with open-ended narrative and global interactivity with mass audiences. ‘Potential’ feels like the best word to describe this Dream: a diverting experiment with some beautiful visuals and music, but which felt …

Romeo and Juliet (National Theatre) @ The Dorfman, London (via Drama Online)

The National Theatre’s schools’ productions have developed in enormous sophistication over the last couple of decades, and it’s testament to their success as creative works in their own right that, not only are they getting runs at the National’s south bank base, but that two of them (Romeo and Juliet and The Winter’s Tale, which …

Romeo & Juliet (Metcalfe Gordon Productions)

For almost a year, now, there have been few opportunities to see new productions of Shakespeare inside a theatre; fewer still where actors are able to touch, to interact. Metcalfe Gordon Productions’ new theatre-film hybrid production of Romeo and Juliet is an experiment in using technology to reproduce what has been lost, filming the actors (mostly) …

Ophelia (Covert Media) (DVD)

John Everett Millais’s ‘Ophelia’ is a defining pre-Raphaelite work, and a profound interpretive influence on Hamlet, on stage and on screen. It’s the starting point for Claire McCarthy’s film of the same name, as Daisy Ridley’s Ophelia spreads her arms and flowers in a lake and slowly sinks beneath the water. The painting renders Ophelia passive, a victim, a portrait of …

King of Texas (Hallmark) (DVD)

Among the many Western adaptations of King Lear, King of Texas is one of the straightest, acknowledging the debt in its opening credits, and casting Patrick Stewart as John Lear, head of one of the largest cattle ranches in the newly independent Republic of Texas And yet, while it mostly follows the plot points (and often the dialogue, appropriately …

A King and No King (Red Bull Theater) @ YouTube

While there have been no end of opportunities to watch Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream during lockdown, the plays of Shakespeare’s contemporaries have had rather shorter shrift. It’s a delight, then, that New York’s Red Bull Theater worked to bring together a stellar cast for a live reading of Beaumont and Fletcher’s incest drama A King and …

The King (Netflix/Plan B) @ Netflix

The King clearly sees the potential, in a post-Game of Thrones world, for the story of the Henry IV/Henry V plays to become the basis for a gritty, f-bomb-dropping, twenty-first-century medievalist fantasy of heroism and difficult choices and violence. The material is right there in the corrupt older generation, the sneering enemies, the balance of personal stakes …