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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The Winter’s Tale (2)


Barbican – Silk Street Theatre


Photo by Johan Persson

This production was by Cheek by Jowl, a company known for the strength of their ensemble casts*, their international tours (and producing plays in a number of languages) and for their production of The Winter’s Tale which has been on in St Petersburg for 20 years. This is not that production.

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Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead


Old Vic

I was delighted that (thanks to the Gods of the Almeida and the Old Vic) I could go and see this almost (but not quite) in repertory with Hamlet, even more pleased that I could get the order right* and then, somewhat perversely given point number one, also delighted that this was an extreme staging contrast with the Almeida’s Hamlet.

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