fri 19/04/2019

RSC

The Merry Wives of Windsor, RSC, Barbican review - panto Shakespeare

For those of us who have never thought much before about links between pantomime and Shakespeare, Fiona Laird’s new Merry Wives offers a chance to see how the combination works. Making short shrift of tradition, her version of the Falstaff comedy...

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Romeo and Juliet, Barbican review - plenty of action but not enough words

It’s clear from the start – from a Prologue that quickly dissolves familiar rhythms and words into a Babel of clamour and sound. This RSC Romeo and Juliet, newly transferred to the Barbican, isn’t much interested in what is said. Actions not words...

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Macbeth, RSC, Barbican review - Shakespeare's blood-boltered tragedy, tense but flawed

It has been said before: Macbeth's reputation for bad luck has more to do with the difficulty of bringing off a successful production than the supernatural elements in the play. Even those of us who have seen dozens of interpretations can count the...

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Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto: 'We figured Molière would have toyed with it too'

Back in June 2017, in the days when English summertime was a lazy idyll rather than an apocalyptic inferno, RSC artistic director Greg Doran met us at his office in Stratford-upon-Avon and asked whether we wanted to write a new version of ...

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Sir Peter Hall: a day of thanksgiving and celebration for a colossus of culture

Sir Peter Hall had no ordinary life, as might be expected from the director who more than any other defined the British theatre of the last half of the 20th century. The same can be said of the unforgettable two-part send-off he received exactly a...

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Imperium, Gielgud Theatre review - eventful, very eventful, Roman epic

History repeats itself. This much we know. In the 1980s, under a Tory government obsessed with cuts, the big new thing was “event theatre”, huge shows that amazed audiences because of their epic qualities and marathon slog. A good example is David...

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Hamlet, RSC, Hackney Empire review - Paapa Essiedu's winning Dane

Shakespeare's death-laden play is alive and well and breathing with renewed force in Hackney, the last British stop for an RSC touring Hamlet that moves on from London to the Kennedy Centre in Washington DC in May. Let's hope the American capital...

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Titus Andronicus, RSC, Barbican review - blood will out

Live theatre, eh? It had to happen. On press night a sound of what seemed to be snoring (the production’s really not dull) revealed, in the Barbican stalls, a collapse. About an hour in, a huge amount of blood is smeared over Titus Andronicus’s...

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Julius Caesar, RSC, Barbican review - Roman bromance plays straight

Even more than some of Shakespeare’s other histories, Julius Caesar inevitably offers itself to “topical interpretation”, a Rorschach test of a play which directors short of an original idea can extrapolate to project their own political aperçus...

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Antony and Cleopatra, RSC, Barbican review - rising grandeur

Is there a key to “infinite variety”? The challenge of Cleopatra is to convey the sheer fullness of the role, the sense that it defines, and is defined by only itself: there’s no saying that the glorious tragedy of the closing plays itself out, of...

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David Edgar: 'Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well'

Since mid-August, I’ve been doing something I swore I’d never do again. I’ve been rehearsing a new adaptation of a novel by Charles Dickens. Sometime in the autumn of 1979, I received a phone call from Trevor Nunn, artistic director of the Royal...

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Coriolanus, Barbican review - great, late Shakespeare compels but doesn't stun

Coriolanus is post-tragic. It never horrifies like Macbeth or appals like King Lear, though its self-damaging protagonist is disconcerting enough. Shakespeare had written the signature dark dramas by 1606, including the most magnificent of the four...

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