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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 …

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 …

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, …

Timon of Athens (RSC) @ The Swan Theatre

It’s impossible to get away from Simon Godwin at the moment. His RSC Hamlet has only just finished touring; his Antony and Cleopatra at the National has been winning awards, and he’s just about to take up the artistic directorship of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington DC, as well as directing a production in …

Richard II (Almeida/NT Live) @ Nottingham Broadway Cinema

For those who remember the Berliner Ensemble’s extraordinary Richard II, which came to the UK in 2006 as part of the RSC’s Complete Works Festival, Joe Hill-Gibbins’s new production of the play for the Almeida may have struck a chord. As with that production, this stripped back Richard II – barely 90 minutes long without …

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 …

Antony and Cleopatra (National Theatre/NT Live) @ Broadway Cinema

In November, Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo became the first pair of co-leads in over thirty years to win the two Best Actor prizes at the Evening Standard Theatre awards. The casting alone, perhaps, made this not entirely unexpected; two Oscar-nominated actors in a big prestige National Theatre production directed by Simon Godwin, in one …

Twelfth Night (Shanty Productions)

Twelfth Night is Shanty Productions’ debut film, as well as the feature debut of director/adaptor Adam Smethurst. It’s quite a launch for an independent film company, with a truly excellent cast, fine use of the West Sussex countryside, and an effective publicity machine. And while the film betrays some awkwardness in its execution and some …