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Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Theatre

What is England? Seeing Richard II the day after yet another missed deadline for the UK’s departure from the EU, in a climate of mass uncertainty about the nature of sovereignty and the future of the country, unavoidably presented difficult questions about what is at stake, both in the play and now. The uneasy laughter …

The Taming of the Shrew (RSC) @ The Royal Shakespeare Theatre

The setting for the RSC’s 2019 The Taming of the Shrew, the latest in a long line of attempts to find a way of making the play palatable as a comedy for the twenty-first century, ventured into the realms of speculative fiction. Director Justin Audibert’s concept imagined an alternative sixteenth century in which women were …

After Edward (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Rarely have response plays so explicitly picked up where their prompt play left off. Beginning in blackout, an arm with a lantern reached down from the ceiling of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, momentarily illuminating the auditorium. Then, in the renewed darkness that followed, an almighty crash, before Tom Stuart’s Edward – the actor and character …

Emilia (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Vaudeville Theatre

Emilia’s transfer to the West End, after a short but impactful run at Shakespeare’s Globe last summer, felt like a triumph even before the show opened. A new play on a seventeenth-century female poet, commissioned for only eleven performances at the Globe, doesn’t tick the obvious commercial boxes, but Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s text captured something …

Much Ado about Nothing (Northern Broadsides) @ Derby Theatre

Conrad Nelson’s swansong production for Northern Broadsides offered a paeon to rural England in its mise-en-scene. A huge cyclorama showed sprawling green fields; sheep baa-ed in the distance and birds tweeted. Lis Evans’s set located the production at the close of World War II, with ‘Dig for Victory!’ posters lining flats at the side of …

Edward II (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Nick Bagnall’s new production of Edward II, reimagined for a candlelit indoor playhouse, collapsed its imagined spaces from the very opening. Gathering around the corpse of Edward I, the company (led by Richard Bremmer’s Archbishop of Canterbury) sang a Latin requiem and then crowned Edward II (Tom Stuart). Edward then began speaking his own summons …

Romeo and Juliet (RSC) @ Nottingham Theatre Royal

An entirely unexpected fight broke out at the RSC’s Romeo and Juliet last night, and it wasn’t on stage. As several audience members took action to remonstrate with and ultimately eject someone who was expressing their disapproval for the production’s choices, many other audience members found themselves missing the meeting of the lovers. And when …

All is True @ Broadway Cinema

All is True is the obvious culmination of Kenneth Branagh’s career – after thirty years of making Shakespeare films, he has finally cast himself as Shakespeare. From Branagh’s silicone-augmented performance to the Patrick Doyle score to the sun-bathed bucolic backdrops, All is True is a Branagh film through and through, for good and for ill. …

Juliet & Romeo (Lost Dog) @ Nottingham Playhouse

What if Romeo and Juliet escaped the crypt together? Lost Dog’s dance production is not the first to explore this question, but perhaps offered one of the more innovative approaches to answering it. This two-person show (plus, at this performance at least, the outstanding BSL interpretation of Clare Edwards) invited its audience into the therapy …

Macbeth (National Theatre) @ Nottingham Theatre Royal

I didn’t hate the National Theatre’s Macbeth when I saw it last April, but I was underwhelmed. The production has since closed in London, been re-cast, and is now touring the country, opening last night at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal. While the production has an entirely new cast, it remained very close to the London version, …