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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 …

Hamlet (Schaubühne Berlin) @ Avignon Festival Theatre (webstream)

As theatres around the world shut their doors to physical customers, they’re opening their archives. The global lockdown occasioned by the COVID-19 outbreak is hitting theatres hard, but it’s a gesture of goodwill and faith in the importance of theatre that institutions are making their content freely available, and it’s a gesture that I hope …

The Revenger’s Tragedy (Cheek by Jowl/Piccolo) @ The Barbican Theatre

In producing a play that turns repeatedly on deceitful appearances, both in the spectacles of power and in staged tricks played on the unsuspecting, Cheek by Jowl’s Revenger’s Tragedy turned theatre itself into the grand metaphor. At the production’s opening, with a stage manager in a headset watching, Fausto Cabra’s Vindice clicked his fingers to …

Macbeth (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and Derby Theatre) @ Derby Theatre

It can seem like faint praise to focus on a production’s lighting, but Derby Theatre’s new Macbeth was truly extraordinarily well lit. Daniella Beattie’s simple designs created a world of shadow and fear, in combination with Ruari Murchison’s set. For much of the production, a deep stage heavily front-lit created an upstage area that was …

Women Beware Women (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

For a play of dark corners, shadowy deeds and masque-like spectacle, the Sam Wanamaker is surely the perfect playhouse. In Amy Hodge’s debut production for the Globe, and in collaboration with designer Joanna Scotcher, the SWP was darkened further than usual, with black tiling on floor and tiring house wall, and covers over the lanterns, …

As You Like It (RSC) @ Theatre Royal, Nottingham

The Bardathon made his RSC stage debut last night, in the small but pivotal role of ‘Tree Covered In Post-It Notes’. Brought on after the interval of As You Like It, this hapless audience member’s role was to stand in a coat festooned with hundreds of stick-on lines of poetry, and chip in with the …

King John (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

In a pointed and spectacular image towards the end of Eleanor Rhode’s production of King John, Cardinal Pandulph (Zara Ramm doing fantastic understudy work) sashayed across a stage filled with English and French soldiers wrestling and dying. King John (Rosie Sheehy) lay dead in an aluminium bathtub, bled out and soiled. As Pandulph reached centre-stage, …