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
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.
Iris Theatre (St Paul’s Covent Garden)
Iris Theatre (in its 10th anniversary year), Macbeth, and me. There’s a trio of weird sisters for a warm summer’s night. Continue reading
As far as I knew it, the plot of The Merry Wives was (to paraphrase Elizabeth I) laughs and a bit with a box. Falstaff and some wives? Of Windsor? Who are merry? Well, none of that is an inaccurate description for a play that is even more frothy than Twelfth Night and more contrived than Cymbeline…
This was a huge amount of rollicking good fun that (despite the casting of a female Malvolia) didn’t try to make Twelfth Night carry anything more than the tale set down by Shakespeare and do it as well as possible.
Aguecheek and Belch. Photo by Marc Brenner.
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.
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.