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Antony and Cleopatra (National Theatre/NT Live) @ Broadway Cinema

In November, Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo became the first pair of co-leads in over thirty years to win the two Best Actor prizes at the Evening Standard Theatre awards. The casting alone, perhaps, made this not entirely unexpected; two Oscar-nominated actors in a big prestige National Theatre production directed by Simon Godwin, in one …

Tamburlaine (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

Oh, how I’ve missed Michael Boyd. While there’s much I admire about Gregory Doran’s work, the RSC’s output has been at best variable for the last few years, often seeming to be in competition with the thrust stage and falling too often into dully conservative furrows. Boyd’s tenure as Artistic Director was far from perfect, …

Troilus and Cressida (RSC/Live from Stratford) @ Broadway Cinema

As a regular at Nottingham Broadway’s screenings of the Live from Stratford-upon-Avon broadcasts, it was dispiriting to see an audience barely a third of the usual size at the broadcast of the rarely-staged Troilus and Cressida; doubly so when this was one of the RSC’s most pleasingly innovative productions for some time. Following the Globe’s …

Twelfth Night (Shanty Productions)

Twelfth Night is Shanty Productions’ debut film, as well as the feature debut of director/adaptor Adam Smethurst. It’s quite a launch for an independent film company, with a truly excellent cast, fine use of the West Sussex countryside, and an effective publicity machine. And while the film betrays some awkwardness in its execution and some …

Measure for Measure @ The Donmar Warehouse

NB: this piece is based on a preview performance. When Josie Rourke announced that she would be staging a radical revisioning of Measure for Measure that would involve the actors playing Angelo and Isabella switching roles halfway through, there was no way she could have known the context in which the first previews would be …

Queen Margaret @ The Royal Exchange, Manchester

The idea of rewriting Shakespeare’s first tetralogy to focus on the character of Queen Margaret – the only character to appear alive in all four plays – is a good one, though not original; Charlene Smith’s research has found some twenty-six, with more doubtless to be turned up. Still, it’s rare for one to come …

The Merry Wives of Windsor (RSC/Live from Stratford-upon-Avon) @ Broadway, Nottingham

I’ll get this out of the way first; the opening sequence of the RSC’s The Merry Wives of Windsor is in competition for the worst thing I’ve ever seen on the RSC stage. Over the silhouette of a town was heard the voice of a messenger arriving at William Shakespeare’s lodgings, bearing a letter from …

Emilia @ Shakespeare’s Globe

All summer, the Globe has been playing fast and loose with the meaningfulness of the name ‘Emilia’ recurring in three of this season’s plays (Othello, The Winter’s Tale, The Two Noble Kinsmen). Along with implying that audiences can ‘follow’ the character through the plays (thankfully, the individual productions made no attempt to force the connection), …

Othello @ Shakespeare’s Globe

A lot of the commentary around Claire van Kampen’s new production of Othello at the Globe has concerned the laughter being aroused by the production; and, as ever, this commentary roughly takes two different angles. Is the laughter part of a company strategy that is deliberately mining the comedy in the play? Or are the …

The Tempest (Donmar/Illuminations) @ BBC iPlayer

In the final entry in Phyllida Lloyd’s Donmar Shakespeare Trilogy, it is Harriet Walter’s turn to take the stand for a testimony at the start of the performance. The oldest prisoner at 66, ‘Hannah’ was the getaway driver for a politically motivated bank robbery which ended with two police officers dead. Refusing to recognise the …