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The Merry Wives of Windsor @ Shakespeare’s Globe (webstream)

In releasing its 2019 The Merry Wives of Windsor as one of its free YouTube premieres, the Globe justly celebrates one of its finest ensembles (who later in the year went on to perform in Bartholomew Fair). Elle While’s thirties-set production is a jolly, entertaining farce that treats the play with the light touch it …

Macbeth (Berliner Ensemble) @ BE At Home

Michael Thalheimer’s 2018 production of Macbeth, as preserved in the Berliner Ensemble’s stream for its ‘BE At home’ programme during the Covid-19 lockdown, is immersed in corporeality. This is not a production in which bodies are aestheticised, but one in which they excrete, expel, merge and bloat. Macbeth (Sascha Nathan) describes himself as Duncan’s butcher, and that’s …

As You Like It (CtrlAltRepeat) @ YouTube

‘I like this place / And willingly could waste my time in it.’ Celia’s line in As You Like It rings interestingly in the middle of a pandemic, a momentary suggestion of peace and satisfaction in the idea of wasting time. Time is a luxury, even a superfluity, when so many in the theatre industry …

Coriolanus (Stratford Festival) @ Stratfest@Home (webcast)

There’s a near-perfect alignment between form and content in Barry Avrich’s film of Robert LePage’s Coriolanus, originally directed for the Stratford Festival, Ontario in 2018 and now broadcast live internationally via Stratfest@Home. Perhaps almost too perfect. LePage’s Coriolanus is fully committed to its formal conceit, even at the expense of rendering the production almost entirely …

Macbeth (Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank) @ Shakespeare’s Globe (webstream)

At a taut ninety minutes, the Playing Shakespeare production of Macbeth staged at Shakespeare’s Globe in early 2020 – just before the pandemic shut down theatres – converts well into a pacey film that preserves the raw energy of a production performed to thousands of schoolchildren (always a reliably vocal audience, especially at the Globe) …

The Winter’s Tale (Royal Ballet) @ The Royal Opera House (webstream)

While there is a long and proud history of dance adaptations of Shakespeare, Christopher Wheeldon’s retelling of The Winter’s Tale is apparently the first time this play has ever been rendered as ballet. It’s surprising, especially given the proto-musical trappings of the sheep-shearing festival, and the play’s interest in visual imagery, most notably in the statue of Hermione. …

Twelfth Night (National Theatre) @ National Theatre At Home

The choice of the National Theatre to broadcast Simon Godwin’s Twelfth Night to homes to mark Shakespeare’s deathday on 23 April was a canny one; a crowd-pleasing comedy, with known quantities (Oliver Chris as Orsino and the headlining Tamsin Greig as a regendered Malvolia, the actors reunited from Green Wing) and an elaborate set courtesy of Soutra Gilmour. On a …

The Tempest (Creation/Big Telly Theatre) @ Zoom

For most of the Covid-19 lockdown period so far, the need for ‘live’ theatre has been met by the generous opening of archival vaults by theatres around the world, allowing audiences to experience previously recorded live events from their own homes. The choice of many of these theatres to enhance the sense of live participation …

King Lear @ Münchner Kammerspiele (webstream)

Thomas Melle’s 2019 reworking of King Lear picks up on the play’s promise of radical change and generational conflict to offer an engaged, if somewhat depressing, critique of a self-consuming society. Under Stefan Pucher’s direction, and across an unbroken two hours-and-change, Münchner Kammerspiele take the implications of a mediatised world and populist politics to their logical extremes, allowing …

Richard III (Schaubühne) @ L’Opéra Grand Avignon (webstream)

Everything Richard needs hangs from the ceiling. At the end of a long cable, a combined microphone, video camera and light dangle from the ceiling. With this single device, Lars Eidinger’s Richard conducts his rise to power. It’s a combination of personal diary and megaphone, a piece of tech to which only he has access and which …