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Richard III (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

It may now have been a new play, with a new king (Sarah Amankwah’s Edward IV) and his courtiers standing for a family portrait, but the stage of Richard III bore all the scars of the Wars of the Roses. Edward and his wife Elizabeth (Nina Bowers) stood centrally in the family group, atop the …

Henry VI (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

NB: This review is based on a preview performance. Henry VI, the fifth entry in the Globe’s 2019 Histories Cycle, was a production of compromises, if not a compromised production. Reuniting the ensemble that performed 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV and Henry V over the summer (with a couple of replacement members), the decision …

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 …

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 …

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 …

All’s Well that Ends Well (Shakespeare’s Globe) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

In the end, I only saw two productions at the Globe while it was under Emma Rice’s leadership. This wasn’t by design – I loved Rice’s work with Kneehigh and, irrespective of the ongoing complaints about her treatment of the space, I thoroughly enjoyed the version of her Midsummer Night’s Dream that the BBC broadcast …

Mucedorus (Read not Dead) @ The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe

Read Not Dead is currently in the grip of the Before Shakespeare project, offering a series of readings curated to show off some of the finest, genre-bending plays of the late sixteenth century. Mucedorus followed The Rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune and Fidele and Fortunio, and I was delighted to join the Before Shakespeare …