Merchant of Venice


Cockpit Theatre


This was a cue-script production, so every member of the cast was given just their own lines and their cues, rehearsed separately, and only found out who else was even in the scenes they share the day of their first performance. (I was in the audience for the third show of a run of five – but two previous run-throughs does not make for a forensic understanding of the plot.) Continue reading


Richard III (3)


Temple Church

antic disposition richard iii 01

Antic Disposition have been touring Shakespeare productions round the cathedrals of England for a number of years – this production of Richard III hit minor controversy when it was announced it would be performed in Leicester, where the man himself is buried. The director promised that this would be a sensitive production, but that “The play is the play and there is no doubt in it that he is the villain.” So I was interested to see how they tackled that particular dichotomy.

The answer is – with a modern-dress performance that downplayed the stately tyranny in favour of a more personal villain, and used the closeness of the audience to create a claustrophobic and haunting evening.

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Whilst other wrote good words (2)


The second in a (very) occasional series on the sources for Shakespeare’s work. Part one – on the “histories” he consulted – is here

We didn’t study Horace much at school, but my Latin teachers made sure we were at least aware of one his most famous lines – the beginning of Ode XXX.

Exegi monumentum aere perenniu

I have made a monument more lasting than bronze

Why am I mentioning it? Because every time I read the first lines of Sonnet 55, I am sure that Shakespeare had read Horace too…

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments

Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme

It’s not the only clue we have that Shakespeare knew his classical (and especially his Roman) authors. They crop up a great deal as the basis for characters, for plots and for literary allusions.

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