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Hamlet @ Theatre Royal Windsor

A burst of applause unusual in UK theatres greeeted the entrance of the cast of Hamlet, who walked onstage in a line and stood facing the audience in what looked like a premature curtain call. Perhaps the applause was conservative (this was Windsor, after all), a throwback to an earlier time when the arrival of …

Ophelia (Cake Theatrical Productions) @ Esplanade Theatre Studio

‘My name is Ophelia, and today I will begin by playing Hamlet’. There are many great lines in Natalie Hennedige and Michelle Tan’s Ophelia, performed in English at the Esplanade Theatre Studio in March 2016, but the play is perhaps best summed up in this one, spoken by Jo Kukathas’s Ophelia. This is a deconstruction of …

The Tempest (Nottingham Playhouse and Lakeside Arts Centre) @ Lakeside Arts Centre Car Park

Storms were scheduled for the matinee of Nottingham Playhouse and Lakeside Arts Centre’s outdoor Tempest, a co-production aimed at reintroducing family audiences to outdoor theatre as part of both venues’ reopening strategy; however, the sun shone brightly throughout. Martin Berry’s 80-minute production (also The Bardathon’s first bit of in-person Shakespeare for well over a year) …

1 Henry VI Open Rehearsal Run-through (RSC) @ online

The three weeks of the RSC 1 Henry VI Open Rehearsal Project – previously discussed on The Bardathon here – culminated on June 23rd with a full rehearsal run through in the Swan rehearsal rooms, as the midsummer light waned through the windows around the room. Running at a stripped-down two hours, this was still a …

Volpone (Red Bull) @ YouTube

The Red Bull’s Zoom-based production of Volpone reprised a celebrated 2012 production (both directed by Jesse Berger) in a fast and funny version that entertainingly capitalised on the restrictions of performing in isolation. Volpone is a play that always seems to feel timely even if, as here, it leans into the period setting, and the play’s …

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 & 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) …