thu 23/03/2017

Shakespeare

Roman Tragedies, Toneelgroep Amsterdam, Barbican

It felt good to be encountering Shakespeare at his most political with a world event to smile about, for once (hailing, of course, from this brilliant Dutch company's homeland). It felt even better to emerge six hours later spellbound and deeply...

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Romeo and Juliet, West Yorkshire Playhouse

Amy Leach’s energetic Romeo and Juliet is fast, furious and a little breathless, the setting transposed from Verona to a fairly grim contemporary Leeds. Think West Yorkshire Side Story. Leach’s starting point was hearing about conflict resolution in...

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, Old Vic

To the list of abiding theatrical partnerships one must surely add Tom Stoppard and the director David Leveaux. From his Tony-winning revival of The Real Thing onwards to Jumpers and Arcadia, all of which played both London and Broadway, Leveaux has...

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Othello, Tobacco Factory, Bristol

Intimacy is a mixed blessing: Richard Twyman’s close-up exploration of sex and violence in his production of Othello for Bristol’s Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory takes the audience on a gripping emotional journey, but one that is at times almost...

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Othello, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

There's no reason why ruffs and candles shouldn't mesh with bursts of contemporary speech, song and lighting, given a defter hand than director Ellen McDougall's. Shakespeare's timeless issues of racism and sexism have plenty of mileage in them,...

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10 Questions for Director Ellen McDougall

In a few days' time, Ellen McDougall will become artistic director of the dynamic little Gate Theatre in Notting Hill where she is already an associate artist. She's not taking it easy in the run-up to her new responsibilities though: her production...

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Hamlet, Almeida Theatre

How often do you leave a production of Shakespeare's most layered drama in tears, thinking "what an astonishing play!" even more than "what a fine Hamlet!" (or not)? Last night the Bard proved even greater than his Dane. Not that Andrew Scott was...

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The Winter's Tale, English National Opera

After a Royal Opera performance of Birtwistle's The Minotaur, a friend spotted Hans Werner Henze in the foyer and had the temerity to ask that annoying question "What did you think?" "Very competent and extremely well performed," came the reply....

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Young Vic

“The nine men’s morris is filled up with mud, and the quaint mazes in the wanton green for lack of tread are undistinguishable.” Titania may mourn the landscape withered by her conflict with Oberon, but games and mazes hold no interest for director...

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Twelfth Night, National Theatre

Everybody’s a little bit gay in Simon Godwin’s giddy new Twelfth Night at the National Theatre. From Andrew Aguecheek, vibrant in candy-coloured check, cuddling up to Sir Toby, and Antonio’s aggressive affection to Sebastian, to Orsino’s passionate...

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Richard III, Schaubühne Berlin, Barbican

Hated the Schaubühne Hamlet (same lead actor, same director as this latest Shakespeare auf Deutsch); loved Ivo van Hove's Toneelgroep Kings of War, with Hans Kesting's Richard III on the highest level alongside the Henrys V and VI. Thomas Ostermeier...

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Judi Dench: All the World's Her Stage, BBC Two

The hyperbole began as soon as the voiceover did: “For most of us Judi Dench is M…” So much for Bernard Lee. The implication was that if you can remember him, then Judi Dench: All the World’s Her Stage was not for you. After all, she played James...

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