// Latest Posts

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 …

Macbeth: A Conjuring (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Macbeth: A Conjuring is a welcome anomaly in the era of streamed and socially distanced theatre. For Bonfire Night 2020, as part of its ‘Shakespeare and Fear’ festival, the Globe reunited the cast of its 2018 Macbeth (reviewed on The Bardathon here) to offer a socially distanced, partially staged reading of the play. It’s a great use …

Bartholomew Abominations (Graeae/Naked Productions) @ BBC Radio 4

What would happen if Zeal-of-the-Land Busy in Bartholomew Fair had actual power? In Paul Sirett’s radio play, performed by Graeae in conjunction with Naked Productions, Busy is reimagined as Sir Michael Best (Garry Robson), Home Secretary and leading member of the ruling Puritan Party in 2032. In the wake of COVID-19, the Puritans came to power, and …

Macbeth (Big Telly) @ Zoom

Macbeth’s uncanniness, its waywardness (to take the word that Scott Newstok and Ayanna Thompson’s important book privileges), is central to its blurring of boundaries, its confusion between what is real and what is not. Zoom offers an ideal medium to explore this uncanniness. Big Telly’s production, broadcast in collaboration with Creation Theatre, exploited all the …

The Winter’s Tale (The Show Must Go Online) @ Zoom

As The Show Must Go Online moves into its final four shows in its ambitious project to stage all of the plays from the First Folio as live Zoom readings, the inventiveness of this project continues undiminished. From a screen packed out with footage of farmyard animals interspersed with animals to represent the sheep-shearing, to the …

American Moor (Red Bull Theatre) @ YouTube

I’ve had the pleasure already of reading and loving Keith Hamilton Cobb’s American Moor, but the opportunity to see the man himself perform the play via Zoom is too fantastic a one to pass up. In the space of digital theatre, a play that is so concerned with presence and gaze and disparities of experience …

Romeo and Juliet (Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank) @ Shakespeare’s Globe

The Globe’s choice to release recordings of its Playing Shakespeare productions for young people alongside several of its summer season productions during lockdown has been an inspired choice. Fast, clear and full of energy, Michael Oakley’s version of Romeo and Juliet – filmed efficiently by Glenn Barton – gets a laugh as the Chorus (spoken …