wed 19/06/2019

Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night's Dream, Bridge Theatre review – gender-juggling romp

Nicholas Hytner’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre is a feat of exuberant brilliance, a gender-juggling romp that takes Shakespeare’s subversive text and polishes it so that it glints and shines like a glitterball at a disco. No holds...

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Falstaff, The Grange Festival review - belly laughs and bags of fun

What is the perfect country house opera? A Midsummer Night’s Dream? L’elisir? Cenerentola? Figaro? All are strong contenders, but in the absence of anyone brave enough to stage Gerald Barry’s The Importance of Being Earnest the winner – surely –...

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Henry IV Parts 1 & 2/Henry V, Shakespeare's Globe review - helter-skelter ensemble history trilogy

Henry IV Part One (***)Women as Hal, Hotspur and Falstaff? It's been done before, and superlatively well, in Phyllida Lloyd's Shakespeare-in-prison trilogy (Henry IV Part One, with several crucial scenes from Part Two, between Julius Caesar and The...

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Ali Smith: Spring review – green shoots, dark fears

Stopped in the street for a vox pop by a BBC interviewer keen to “fill your air” with strife and bile, a character in Spring retorts that “there’s a world out there bigger than Brexit, yeah?” Newshound critics, take note. The symbolically named Brit...

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Elizabeth I/Macbeth, English Touring Opera review - elegance and eeriness

A crash, a scurry, a long, lilting serenade – the overture to Rossini’s Elizabeth I sounds oddly familiar. Not to worry. English Touring Opera has anticipated our confusion. “You may recognise this overture” flash the surtitles, to a ripple of...

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Richard II, Sam Wanamaker Theatre review - electrifying mixed-race all-female production

Richard II has become the drama of our times, as it walks us through the impotent convulsions of a weak and vain leader brought down by in-fighting among his men. While the Almeida’s recent production starred Simon Russell Beale as a solipsistic...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Guildhall School review - earthy, energetic Britten

It speaks vivid volumes for the superb health of our music colleges that the Guildhall School tackles every aspect of Britten's long and layered Shakespeare adaptation with total confidence. On Friday night, there wasn't a weak expressive link...

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All Is True review - all's well doesn't end well in limp Shakespeare biopic

All may be true but not much is of interest in this Kenneth Branagh-directed film that casts an actor long-steeped in the Bard as a gardening-minded Shakespeare glimpsed in (lushly filmed) retirement. Seemingly conceived in order to persuade...

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The Tragedy of King Richard II, Almeida Theatre review - Simon Russell Beale leads revelatory interpretation

Joe Hill-Gibbins’ uncompromising production of The Tragedy of Richard II hurtles through Shakespeare’s original text, stripping and flaying it so it is revealed in a new shuddering light. Narcissistic, petulant and indecisive, Simon Russell Beale’s...

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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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Macbeth, Shakespeare's Globe review - sexually-charged production draws power from the shadows

Macbeth has rarely seemed quite as metrosexual as in this gorgeous shadow-painted production that marks Globe artistic director Michelle Terry’s first production in the Sam Wanamaker theatre. Even in a play that walks the tightrope between its...

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Robert Hastie: 'a seam of love runs through the play' - interview

Robert Hastie is a little late for our meeting. Directing Shakespeare's darkest tragedy in London while also running Sheffield Theatres must sometimes cause a logjam of simultaneous demands, but whatever the morning's problem in the north of England...

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