According to WordPress, I’ve been writing Desperately Seeking Cymbeline for three years. So first up is a big thank you to those of you who read and comment, and keep me motivated through work and through the dry patches in the London Shakespeare scene, when all that’s on is A Midsummer Night’s Dream again…
It also feels like a good time to look back – both at the Shakespeare, and at the blog.
The blog first – I’ve apparently written 170 posts (averaging one a week feels like quite an achievement to me!) and they’ve covered everything from Shakespeare’s marriage to the locations his plays were first staged and the sources he built on (that set of posts is still a work in progress!), via forgeries, lost plays, word play, use of dreams, prophecy, bed tricks, and much more.
I had so much fun at events to celebrate the 400th anniversary last year (and wasn’t that fortuitous timing for me!), especially the Complete Walk. And learning more about The Curtain (both on the ground and after the fact), and sharing numerous random tidbits of news (see He speaks at random posts – now almost in double figures). I even got in a guest blog post from my dad (thank you!)
Apparently my most popular post was my review of Antic Disposition’s fabulous Henry V earlier this year, followed by Now is the woodcock near the gin (that latter one is I think driven by poor students trying to understand Fabian’s tortured metaphor rather than an interest in the subject matter!). And I’m delighted that I’ll be going to Antic Disposition’s next production later this week – hopefully it will be every bit as good. Which is a nice segue into…
… The productions – I’ve written reviews of 40 productions (with varying amounts of actual Shakespeare content, since they include King Lear with Sheep and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead). I’ve seen 25 of the 38 canonical plays so far – some of them more than once. A special shout out to Much Ado About Nothing – I’ve been to four productions and they were all great. I am still worried about catching Henry VIII.
My spreadsheet tells me my most expensive production was Twelfth Night at the National Theatre (well worth it for the astonishing set and fabulous cast) and joint cheapest were, unsurprisingly, Measure for Measure and Imogen – my two groundling performances at the Globe.
Particular highlights have been The Winter’s Tale (I still occasionally find myself humming “In the Pines”), As You Like It, Cymbeline, Measure for Measure, and Henry V. The absolute stand-out has been the Almeida’s Hamlet and I’m so pleased the BBC are adapting it into a film, building on the momentum of the Hollow Crown productions.
Looking forward – I have tickets already booked for Antic Disposition’s Richard III and Shared Experience’s As You Like It, and I’m hoping to also catch Titus Andronicus at the Barbican, All’s Well That Ends Well in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Julius Caesar in the new Bridge Theatre. Still no Henry VIII on the horizon though!