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Hamlet @ The Young Vic

Over the pandemic, most of us have had to get used to being apart from one another. I may be speaking for myself, but it’s been exhausting (if rewarding) to re-learn how to socialise, how to physically interact with others. Negotiating awkwardness and new boundaries is part of this, as well as remembering the social …

Romeo and Juliet (The Handlebards) @ Derby Theatre

It’s unusual to see a production of Romeo and Juliet in which Friar John emerges as the MVP. But for The Handlebards, this failed postman has rich potential. At the cell of Friar Laurence (Tom Dixon), Friar John (initially Lucy Green, later Paul Moss) wandered silently, ethereally, with a spray bottle of holy water, watering …

The Comedy of Errors (RSC) @ The Lydia & Manfred Gorvy Garden Theatre

‘Capitalism!’ crooned the four-strong Chorus who provided an acapella doo-wop score for Phillip Breen’s Comedy of Errors. Errors isn’t a play which demands a subtle approach, and the singers identifying the core interpretive ethos of this production offered a nice punchline, as on-the-nose as the punches that repeatedly landed on both Dromios’ faces. In a …

Romeo & Juliet @ Shakespeare’s Globe (livestream)

If there’s a play that can benefit from some shaking up, it’s Romeo and Juliet. During the pre-performance materials, members of the cast and crew of the Globe’s current production spoke of challenging the idea that the play is a love story. But cultural understandings of Romeo and Juliet are deeply ingrained, and the play’s …

Henry V (RSC/Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre) @ Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre

The RSC’s Folio Translation Project, designed to create new Chinese-language translations of the canon, began in 2016 with Owen Horsley’s production of So Kwok Wan’s translation of Henry V. Made available to delegates at the World Shakespeare Congress, the film of the production captures a lean, contemporary take on the play that is unmistakably RSC in its aesthetic (dark …

Pericles (Yohangza) @ Seoul Arts Centre

The sands of time have already covered up much of history. On Lim Il-jin’s enormous, deep stage, sand expands as far as the eye can see, into the dark recesses. The faded magnificence of the ages emerges from the sand: the colossal head of a statue of Diana, lying on its side; a chandelier near …

The Winter’s Tale (SHAKE Festival) @ Zoom

Following the initiation of the live online Zoom/YouTube readings of Shakespeare by The Show Must Go Online early in the pandemic, a number of other organisations have worked to put on Shakespeare readings of their own. SHAKE Festival is unusual among them for two reasons: its ticketed entry (as opposed to inviting donations) and its …

Mugen-Noh Othello @ Shizuoka Performing Arts Centre

Some fifty years after the events of Othello, a wandering traveller called Waki arrives in Cyprus, which is now back under Turkish control. By beginning this Mugen-Noh rendition of the tragedy at a point when the deaths of Othello, Desdemona and the rest are almost out of living memory, director Miyagi Satoshi adds a further dimension to the …

Lear is Dead (Nine Years Theatre) @ Drama Centre Theatre

What are we doing when we commemorate the dead, when we tell the stories of our leaders after they have gone? Nelson Chia’s reimagining of King Lear for Nine Years Theatre from 2018 (made available to World Shakespeare Congress delegates) asks as much of the storytellers as of those whose story is being told. In doing so, the …

The Tempest (Contemporary Legend Theatre)

Tsui Hark’s spectacular, operatic Tempest, co-directed with Wu Hsing-kuo (who also plays Prospero), is a mesmerising take on Shakespeare’s play. Available on the MIT Global Shakespeares site, and made available in its 2004 incarnation to delegates at the 2021 World Shakespeare Congress, it’s an extraordinary show of power as a truly magical Prospero co-ordinates an …