mon 06/07/2020

Shakespeare

Theatre Lockdown Special 11: Shakespeare-as-rave, a starlit Old Vic, and, yes, those singing nuns

Might we be nearing light at the end of the lockdown tunnel? It definitely seems that way, with the news in recent days that social life beyond the home may be resuming soon, at least after a fashion. All the while, theatrical offerings continue to...

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Theatre Lockdown Special 10: Epic plays from the National Theatre and Broadway alongside voices raised in protest

As lockdown continues, National Theatre at Home has announced its final sequence of plays, and several of the very best are being saved for last. That certainly applies to this week's offering, Small Island, whose dissection of Britain's racist past...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare's Globe online review - a seasonal treat

What could be better for a lockdown summer night "out" than a virtual visit to Shakespeare's Globe? Simultaneously in a theatre and the open air, we can share the visible enjoyment of hundreds of others, the very opposite of self-isolation and...

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Theatre Lockdown Special 8: A film star plays tough, and several familiar titles are examined anew

As we continue into a third month in lockdown, the arts continue to suggest ever-changing worlds beyond. The invaluable National Theatre at Home this week looks across the Thames to a smaller venue's large-scale Coriolanus, starring a certain...

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Antony and Cleopatra, National Theatre at Home review – Fiennes and Okonedo triumph in dragging tragedy

Like an asp eating its own tail, the National Theatre's 2018 production of Antony and Cleopatra, streaming on YouTube until 14 May, begins as it will end. Director Simon Godwin's first tableau is the play's finale: Cleopatra (Sophie Okonedo) lies in...

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Theatre Lockdown Special 3: Mary Shelley twice over, Europe writ large, and one day more for a mega-musical

Time is moving in mysterious ways at the moment. It's been possible over the last month or so to mark out the beginning of each week with the arrival online of a different production streaming from the Hampstead Theatre archives. The National,...

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Theatre Lockdown Special 2: Birthdays aplenty, songs of hope, a starry quiz - and more

As lockdown continues, so does the ability of the theatre community to find new ways to tantalise and entertain. The urge to create and perform surely isn't going to be reined-in by a virus, which explains the explosion of creatives lending their...

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Theatre Lockdown Special 1: Starry podcasts, late-career Shakespeare, a celebrity basement - and more

The lockdown has been extended, but here's the good news: each week whereby we are shut inside seems to bring with it ever-enticing arrays of theatre from across the spectrum, from online cabarets to freshly conceived podcasts and all manner of...

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Upstart Crow, Gielgud Theatre review - terrific Shakespeare spoof

What joy it is to welcome this offshoot of the television series to the West End stage – complete with several of that show's cast, plus a few new additions. Ben Elton has fashioned an original story that picks up in 1605, a decade after where the...

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The Taming of the Shrew, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - a confused and toothless mess

Say what you will about The Taming of the Shrew (and you’ll be in good company), but it is one of Shakespeare’s clearest plays. Asked to summarise the action of, say, Richard II or Love’s Labours Lost and you might lose your way somewhere between...

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Kunene and the King, Ambassadors Theatre review - a Shakespearean voyage through the legacy of apartheid

John Kani’s Kunene and the King is history in microcosm. Its premiere at the RSC last year, in this co-production with Cape Town’s Fugard Theatre, coincided with the 25th anniversary of the end of apartheid, offering a chance to assess the momentous...

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Ophelia review - tragic no more

Ophelia is one of Shakespeare’s most iconic yet underdeveloped dramatic roles. A sweet and naïve girl, she’s driven mad by Hamlet’s wavering affections and her father’s death. She was often the subject of paintings, yet rarely of novels until the...

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