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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 …

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 …

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, …

Venice Preserved (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

Thomas Otway’s 1682 tragedy, part of a mini-season of Restoration plays in the Swan, is a depressing affair. Despite the large scale of its political plot, as a group of conspirators led by an ambassador band together to overthrow the Venetian state, its focus is on a three-way relationship between a man, his secret wife, …

Measure for Measure (RSC/Live from Stratford-upon-Avon) @ The Broadway, Nottingham

Gregory Doran’s new Measure for Measure seemed, at times, to be almost defiantly setting itself against ‘relevance’. Eschewing the contemporary settings of several recent productions that have more explicitly responded to the #MeToo moment and the abuses of power in the highest offices (whether political, entertainment, sports), Doran returned to the text’s setting of Vienna, but updated …

Screening The Royal Shakespeare Company: A Critical History, by John Wyver (Bloomsbury, 2019)

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s relationship with film stretches back to the very earliest days of that medium, with Frank Benson’s two-reel film of Richard III­ – now a staple of university Shakespeare On Film courses – shot on stage at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon; meanwhile, the company’s ongoing commitment to broadcasting its main …

The Taming of the Shew (RSC Live from Stratford-upon-Avon @ Broadway Cinema

I’ve already written at length about Justin Audibert’s The Taming of the Shrew at the RSC, and a second viewing of it – this time courtesy of free tickets to the live broadcast, with thanks to the RSC social media team – helped clarify much of what makes the production work, but gave me little further insight …

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 …

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 …