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Bartholomew Fair (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Please note – this review is of a preview performance. The sprawling Bartholomew Fair is an enormous play, a cast of seemingly thousands jostling shoulders in one of London’s most notorious fairs. Hosting it in the relatively bijou Sam Wanamaker was a bold choice, but Blanche McIntyre (with designer Ti Green) transformed it to maximise …

Henry V, or Harry England @ Shakespeare’s Globe

When I saw Sarah Amankwah in Doctor Faustus at the Sam Wanamaker just before Christmas, I expressed a hope that she’d be a regular at the Globe. The fact that, with very little Shakespeare experience behind her, she has then taken the major through-line role of the Henries trilogy as Hal/Henry V, suggests I wasn’t …

Henry IV Part 2, or Falstaff @ Shakespeare’s Globe

As much as I love 2 Henry IV as a stand-alone play, I often find it suffers a little when presented as the middle part of a trilogy. Whereas 1 Henry IV describes a clear arc for Falstaff, in addition to excellent set pieces for the other characters, and Henry V has a stand-alone narrative …

Henry IV Part 1, or Hotspur @ Shakespeare’s Globe

Following the revisioning of England offered by the Globe’s Richard II in the Sam Wanamaker, a different creative team imagined an England that was still under construction in Hotspur, the first in a trilogy performed by a single eleven-person ensemble. The Globe itself seemed partly dismantled, with partially built pillars, panels missing from the tiring …

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 …

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 …

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 …

Doctor Faustus (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Paulette Randall’s first production for the Globe – and, according to her bio, her first production of an early modern play – made an important statement, taking a play that focuses on the archetypal white male overreacher and casting Jocelyn Jee Esien as the titular Doctor Faustus. It’s part of the Globe’s agenda-setting commitment to …

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

Macbeth – which of course, may well have been adapted for the King’s Men after the company’s acquisition of the Blackfriars – seems ideally suited to the chiaroscuro potential of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. More so than any production I’ve seen there since The Duchess of Malfi, Robert Hastie’s production played with the sounds that …