All entries for October 2007

October 27, 2007

Lisa's Sex Strike @ Lakeside Arts Centre

Nottingham University has a very nice little Arts Centre, which played host to this week’s production of Lisa’s Sex Strike by Northern Broadsides. It’s not as big as Warwick’s, but fairly classy and the theatre is cosy, a perfect venue for tonight’s production, one of the most purely enjoyable plays I’ve had the pleasure of watching in a long time.

Lisa’s Sex Strike, a new commission by Blake Morrison for Northern Broadsides, is a retelling of Aristophanes’ Greek comedy Lysistrata. In a Northern mill town the men are caught up in race riots and street violence. Lisa galvanises the housewives of the town to withold sex from their husbands, and also to occupy the factory which employs most of the men in the town. Deprived of money and sex, the men quickly find themselves more than willing to settle their differences. But while in the factory, the women find that their men are creating parts to feed the arms trade, and have to tackle the factory owner, a man far more concerned with profit than conscience.


It may sound tenuous, but in practice the idea worked beautifully. There was no attempt to naturalise the contrived setup- the characters were largely Northern caricatures (one woman in particular being highly reminiscent of the chicken in Chicken Run that always has her knitting with her) who spoke in clever rhyming couplets. Morrison’s skill at writing for Lancs/Yorkshire accents was immediately apparent, rhyming words such as ‘owners’ and ‘bonus’ to create a clever verse that was both funny and entirely appropriate for the classical parody.

Perhaps unexpectedly, this was also a musical. From the opening number, where the men chanted football insults at each other before going into refrains of “Eh up chuck”, the play bounced from tune to tune- a Chicago inspired burlesque finale, a chipper village bobby tune for the police and a full on jazz blues number for one woman struggling with the sex strike. The songs showcased the varied talents of the cast, who provided all the music, while also ensuring the show retained the irreverent feel that kept it firmly on the right side of satire, never allowing the issues to turn, as the director later put it, the comedy into a tragedy.

The playfulness of the script and direction meant it never became boring. The second act was dominated, in more ways than one, by the huge erect red phalluses donned by the men in their sexual frustration, culminating in an hysterical set-piece as the penises lined up and sang a song to the tune of Monty Python’s Universe Song, even singing backing vocals. The presence of two gods, War and Peace, lent the play a further surreal feel as they played out their centuries-long struggle as a backdrop to the main action. The play veered slightly further towards earnestness towards the end, as evil factory owner Prutt was forced to live through the traumatic experiences of soldiers in the Iraq war, but this was relieved by his final appearance with a phallus that fired off explosions into the audience.

The performances were excellent all round. The men in particular excelled as a group, the ridiculous village bobbies being a particular comic highlight. Barrie Rutter and Eve Polycarpou as the two gods brought a maturer comedy that sat well against the energetic farce of the rest of the company. Most importantly, though, everyone on stage seemed to be thoroughly enjoying themselves, tipping a wink to the audience as they performed. I’ve never seen Northern Broadsides before, but this production had a distinctly community feel, partly due to the size of the venue but mostly down to the sheer affability of the performers. The comedy may not have been the most sophisticated (I refer again to the singing penises) but it was impossible not to be tickled by the cast’s good-humoured approach.

In all, this was a thoroughly enjoyable evening, and a timely reminder that theatre can still have a powerful impact without being po-faced. Truly life-affirming.

October 19, 2007

The Spirit of Agincourt

Any rugby fans out there? If so, and if you were watching the ITV coverage of the England vs. France world cup semi-final, you would have caught a little bit of Shakespeare in the build-up! Some bright spark at the RSC realised that millions would be watching, and that an England vs. France battle on France’s home ground had a certain resonance with their new production of Henry V. With newspapers banging on about the ‘Spirit of Agincourt’ and printing the famous St. Crispins Day speech, the link was fairly obvious!

Geoffrey Streatfeild (Henry V)

Which is how Geoffrey Streatfeild, as Prince Hal, came to recite the famous speech in the build-up to the match, helping to get the nation’s blood pumping. The result was right too! Did anyone happen to actually see this little performance? I’d be really interested to know quite how cheesey it was!

October 14, 2007

Casanova @ Warwick Arts Centre

First things first: what a poster! A teasing and immediately captivating image, combining the playfulness and sexuality of the titular hero with the femininity that Told by an Idiot’s new take was bringing to the part. According to reviews, these posters have been stolen en masse from theatres, and even the programme includes an entire two page article on the thinking that went into it. It promises wonderful things.

Casanova publicity art

Sadly, the poster was without a doubt the best thing about this production. The second main show in Warwick Arts Centre’s new season is also the second major disappointment, a production with wonderful ideas but lacking realisation.

The production’s main strength and weakness is the wonderful Hayley Carmichael in the title role. Artistic Director of Told by an Idiot, co-writer of the story and lead player, Casanova is a tour de force for the company’s star, and she revels in the role. Reimagining Casanova as a female gives the tiny actress license to engage in rampant sex with a variety of 18th century Europeans (including a sprint through the Karma Sutra with one particularly fortunate monk), fight bulls, perform concerts, dance, run, give birth, philosophise, grow old and finally fly from her castle window. It’s a dream role which Carmichael embraces head-on, throwing herself into the part with gusto, and she is as excellent as she was in Kneehigh’s Cymbeline.

However, the play does not serve its lead, and Carmichael ends up unbalancing the whole production. The play’s focus is narrow, following Casanova from one episode to the next with Carmichael rarely offstage. In effect it is a one-woman show with supporting cast, but Casanova is not an interesting or sympathetic enough character to hold our interest by herself, regardless of Carmichael’s performance. Casanova is stripped of the guile and sexual manipulation that one imagines, and instead becomes largely passive in her own story, forced by cirumstance to move from place to place with no direction or control. The story resembles none so much as that of Forrest Gump as she bumps into and inspires Voltaire, Mozart and George III, accidentally invents bullfighting and fades into obscurity, eclipsed by her own legend. Yet while Forrest Gump used its passive protagonist to give a moving portrait of recent American history and the personal and political crises that defined the nation, Casanova appears to have no point. The most potentially interesting consequence of changing the character’s gender, the inevitable pregnancy, is brought up and dispensed with in two minutes of stage time and barely referred to again. At its best, the female Casanova occasionally shows the ways in which even intelligent and independent women can be victims to the greed of unscrupulous men. At its worst, it turns Casanova into a stupid and naive young girl who prostitutes herself out for protection and luxury. Her ‘talents’ are repeatedly referred to, the rest of the company talking about her as if she’s the closest thing to God on Earth, but we see precious little of this one-woman Renaissance save a mimed violin display and a few quotes that Voltaire scribbles down.

The narrative style of the production quickly becomes tiresome, characters narrating their own lives to the point of mundanity. Yet this is made up for by some arresting visual sequences. A bull created out of a bucket for a head, two curved swords for horns, a mop for the body and two hanging bags for the testes, was among the few standout moments, with another actor creating the soft moos as Casanova slowly seduced it. A dance between Casanova and an actor on ship before they were parted forever found an element of real emotion, and the final image of Casanova swinging inside a picture frame, forever immortalised in her young and vital form, was a beautiful sight to end on. But these sequences were few and far between, and several other sequences, including a hideous scene with audience members climaxing to the sounds of Casanova’s violin and a confused hurly-burly in London, negated the effect.

It’s a shame that a company with such wonderful ideas, a stunning approach to design and great performers should come up with a play so dead. Neither relevant, emotional, dramatic or stylish enough to excite, the production ended up treading a mediocre middle ground without seeming to know where it was going or why it was going there. There was much potential, but precious little realised, and I hope the company rethink before tackling this kind of story again.

October 11, 2007


I’m already excited…..

Troilus and Cressida promotional art

Brief Encounter @ Birmingham Repertory Theatre

Someone, possibly Michael Billington, once compared Kneehigh to a cult rock group. Not only do they do their own thing, but they also have a hardcore group of devotees for whom they can do no wrong. These Kneehighites (Knee-heights? oh dear) do not really include me. I am a Friend of Kneehigh, and I look forward immensely to their shows, but I do like to reserve judgement.

It was odd, therefore, to find myself at Birmingham Rep among a crowd clearly very new to Kneehigh’s work, mostly school theatre groups brought on trips by their hip teachers and senior citizens attracted by the play itself, an adaptation of Noel Coward’s Brief Encounter . Kneehigh played up to this audience, shrounding the production with old cinema style trappings including a big screen, old-style censor certificate and even a series of extremely funny mock commercials in the interval (“Hamlet’s cigars, for when she just won’t shut up” and so on). We were entertained beforehand by a group of musicians singing old 30s songs, which the elder members of the audience were happily singing along to. Kneehigh’s affectionate nostalgia for the period, first hinted at in A Matter of Life and Death, blossomed here.

This was Kneehigh at their most audience-friendly and most, dare I say it, conventional. Gone were the usually omnipresent chorus of Parkas and loners. Gone were the urban soundtracks and loud beats. Gone too were the extravagent aerial stunts, save for a brief moment when the two lovers were hoisted by their arms for a tantalising second, almost taking off but just failing. For this was a story grounded in reality of two lovers shackled by their responsibilities and unable to indulge in the kinds of fantasy Kneehigh normally play in. This was, perhaps, their most real story yet.

Brief Encounter promotional art

Tristan Sturrock (practically reprising his role from Life and Death) and new recruit Naomi Frederick were excellent as the two stylised lovers, Laura and Alec. Bound by rules of 30s etiquette, their relationship was for the most part realised through handshakes, polite cuppas in a station cafe and forlorn waves across the platforms. The most erotically charged scene saw Laura and Alec undressing themselves discretely after falling into a river, both trying to reconcile their shyness and modesty with their passion for each others’ dishevelled selves. Only once did they manage to enjoy a full-on, uninterrupted kiss. Their passion was also communicated via the repeated image of waves crashing on the huge screen, the lovers moving as the tides of passion washed over them.

This story ran through as the clear focus of interest, and Kneehigh created an amazing emotional connection with the two. My usual complaint with Kneehigh is that real emotion sometimes gets swamped by the craziness on stage, but here the stylised love story was given full room to grow and draw the audience in.

An unusually small cast of six actors, plus two musicians, fleshed out the rest of the story. Myrtle and Albert, the station cafe manager and guard, started an affair that fully enjoyed the passion denied to the two leads, while dippy waitress Beryl enjoyed the first flush of young love with cake-seller Stanley. The three love stories worked well in juxtaposition, allowing three different manifestations of love to comment on each other.

However unusual this show was, however, it was still Kneehigh. In the most startling scene, a huge sheet was pulled across the front of the stage and a storey-high express train shot across the entire stage while Laura stood above, on the verge of jumping to a highly dramatic death. The impact of a life-size train speeding across the stage was set off by the earlier appearance of a small toy train onto the back of which Alec hopped in his first departure from Laura. Stanley used a trampoline to enter the cafe, Beryl rode around on a red scooter which she eventually threw away in a fit of pique and Laura’s children were played by two puppets.

The burlesque feel of the production was compounded by it being presented as just part of a series of variety acts. The ever-talented Amanda Lawrence shone in the rest of these, standing out as the cast performed in a range of song and dance routines. The cast also doubled in a variety of cameo roles, repeatedly changing costume and character to create a large number of grotesques and caricatures who further highlighted the purity and simplicity of the central story. Two dragged up musicians added to the fun, underscoring the action with a range of 30s influenced cues that the cast took great pleasure in contributing to, most notably Stuart McLoughlin whose musical abilities were one of the evening’s highlights.

This was the most simple and direct I have ever seen Kneehigh, and it paid off with a production that will appeal far more to the mainstream than their previous work. Perhaps not as daring as usual, but the emotional impact they drew out of the work more than made up for this.

October 08, 2007

Love's Labour's Lost @ Shakespeare's Globe

I’m starting to come round to the idea that there is no place for comedy quite like Shakespeare’s Globe. While many critics have a good many negative things to say about the Globe audiences, there is no denying the spirit and atmosphere of the place. A production is almost immediately rendered ten times funnier than usual by the venue itself and the willingness of the crowd to throw themselves heart and soul into the performance.

This is very important when it comes to a play like Love’s Labour’s Lost. Three hours is a long time to stand for a play which contains some of the obscurest humour in Shakespeare, and Dominic Dromgoole’s production fails to bring life to it all (Timothy Walker’s Don Adriano in particular raised barely a smile in any of his toe-curlingly boring scenes), but a Globe crowd is unusually forgiving, happy to go from stony silence to hysterics in a matter of moments, and the hysterics yesterday far outweighed the silences.

This was the final performance of the Globe’s year, and a bite in the October air didn’t stint enjoyment one bit. Boasting an exceptionally young cast (Trystan Gravelle (Berowne) is barely in his twenties, compared to David Tennant at 35/6 who will be playing the role for the RSC next year), this is a production full of life that plays to the Globe’s strengths, turning the wordy Love’s Labour’s Lost into a battle-of-the-sexes romp that serves to reminds you just how funny the play actually is.

The highlight was undoubtedly the men. Gravelle’s Berowne, William Mannering’s Longaville and David Oakes’ Dumaine made a wonderful team, standing together in an early scene nodding and tutting in unison as the King read out Don Armado’s letter. Gravelle held the stage with a lilting Welsh accent and a confident stride, but was continually upstaged by Mannering. On crutches after an accident the previous week, he had somehow managed to integrate the crutches into his performance, using them to great effect particularly during his comic hugging of Berowne. The famous four-way overhearing scene was wonderfully staged, the men running around madly as they tried to stay out of each other’s sight.

The ladies were excellent too. Katherine and Maria, as is often the case, faded into the background next to Rosaline, here played by Gemma Arterton in her theatrical debut who gave an exquisitely poised and self-assured performance, a foe who you could definitely see Berowne losing his heart to. The real highlight among the ladies was Michelle Terry’s Princess, however. Her range was comical, from girly giggling and whispering with her ladies to full on matriarchal screaming as she gave out their plans, one sustained outburst of energy earning her a sustained ovation for its sheer mountainous extremes. Yet she was also capable of reassuming the dignity associated with her role, particularly in the sombre closing moments after Mercade’s entrance.

Between these eight characters the play sustained a party atmosphere, best exemplified when the final confrontation between Costard and Don Armado descended into a food fight between the nobles, providing an effective contrast upon Mercade’s appearance. This atmosphere sustained the lengthy play, the director clearly realising that the low comics in this play can’t be relied on for the humour, and he wisely put his trust in the abilities of his young leads. Paul Rider’s Boyet became immensely important as a result, the mover and shaker between the two groups, and his highly smug performance was one of the production’s highlights.

Elsewhere, Joe Caffrey’s Costard gave a solid and occasionally manic performance, with possibly a bit too much bump n’ grind with Rhiannon Oliver’s Jaquenetta. The tiny Seroca Davis tried hard with Moth, but her high-pitched voice ended up as meaningless squeaking as she engaged in sophisticated wordplay with her Spanish master. Their scenes were the weakest in the production, the audience standing politely in puzzled silence and very relieved when they left. Holofernes and Nathaniel equally didn’t impress- solid performances, but the parts themselves are thankless. The performance of the Nine Worthies was fairly enjoyable, but a series of farting jokes between Nathaniel, Holofernes and Dull was one of the least advisable production decisions.

Dominic Dromgoole came on stage at the end to give his thanks on behalf of the Globe’s year. He made a comparison between his production and The Globe itself: “Neither of them make any sense, but somehow they both work”. The truth is that both have serious flaws, but both make up for it with a wealth of atmosphere, good will and the knowledge of how to raise a laugh. That’s enough for me.

Macbeth @ The Gielgud Theatre

Have you ever left the room during a cup final to hear the roars behind you telling you you’ve just missed the crucial goal? Or left a gig early only to be told about the secret encore afterwards? Or gone to see your favourite actor in a play only to find out the understudy’s had to take his place? If so, you may understand the way I’m feeling after this weekend’s production of Macbeth. Robbed.

Unfortunately, I have nothing to blame this on apart from the theatre. Or, more to the point, my seats in the theatre. Right up in the upper circle, with a bunch of schoolkids (why a school trip on a saturday night?!) kicking me and only the distant shape of Patrick Stewart’s head from which to make out a performance.

Distance doesn’t always matter in the theatre, of course, but Rupert Goold’s Chichester Festival production of Macbeth is an actor’s production. Being hailed in the press as one of the greatest productions of this play ever, its strength is quite clearly the towering performances of Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood in the lead roles. Or so I’ve heard. Because from where I was I could see nothing of the subtlety or expression that I’m sure he was giving out. This did, admittedly, lead me to concentrate more on the actors’ tremendous voice work, and Stewart’s distinctive gravitas and wry humour were as wonderful as ever. Alas, though, the “Best Macbeth ever” was lost to me. The soliloquies became just a distant man speaking the lines with no way of telling what he was actually doing with them. It’s not totally the theatre’s failling- a good actor should be able to play to the whole house, and Stewart’s performance did not stretch up to us. No wonder the kids behind us were so bored. It’s Michael Boyd who commented on the fact that children would never form a bond with Shakespeare if they were kept so far away from him.

The grievances of distance aside, there was an interesting production to be seen. The critics raved about the sheer amount of ideas thrown into the mix (an interesting turnaround for several reviewers who usually despise “buggering about with the Bard”. My guess is that it’s acceptable when you have a star name in the lead), and with good cause. The production found a home in the underground bunkers of the Second World War, a dank kitchen/hospital ward staffed by three Nightingale nurses, the witches. Our introduction to them saw them inject the bloodied sergeant with poison, and throughout the production they waited on the nobles, prepared food and generally watched over events with a suitably terrifying air. The distance here helped- unable to see their faces, they became even more mysterious and inhuman.

The new setting led for some wonderful moments. The final scenes took on the air of a Downfall style climax with the underground bunker being stormed, and Young Seyward’s death was a particularly shocking highlight: approaching Macbeth with a knife, the tyrant casually pulled out a gun and shot him without a moment’s consideration. Banquo’s murder was even better, with the cast creating a passenger train out of chairs and bodies and the two murderers dressed as ticket inspectors making their way up the train, passing Banquo a cup filled with poison for a death Bond would have been proud of.

Rupert Goold reprised many of the features that helped and hindered his Tempest at the RSC last year. Projections were used to good effect to hint at the outside world being changed drastically from the tiny bunker and, memorably, to show reams of spiralling blood during the ghost scenes. Less welcome was his surprisingly static approach to dialogue. Scenes heavy on conversation were generally given an interesting set up but then the actors were left to make the best they could of it. This was true of the England scene, despite an excellent turn from Michael Feast’s Macbeth. Goold had clearly also been studying Gregory Doran’s RSC production, the Porter in particular being taken almost wholesale from that excellent production.

The high concepts worked well too. The rapping dance of the witches was a welcome change of tone, and their Frankensteinian reanimation of corpses for the prophecies was effective. The banquet scene was begun before the interval showing Macbeth’s view of events, including the conversation with the murderer and the physical appearance of the bloodied Banquo from the lift. After the interval, though, the scene was repeated from the point of view of the rest of the diners, with no ghost appearing. Later, a parlour dance became a dance macabre as Macbeth found himself waltzing the ghost.

This was an actors’ show though, and Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood were undoubtedly the highlights. Stewart brought a twisted humanity to the role which came across when addressing the body of his wife and in his final moments as he considered putting the pistol in his own mouth. His final defeated “Enough” as he saw the witches and allowed Macduff the victory was less of a defeat than it sounds, finally taking control of his inevitable destiny. Fleetwood too was wonderful, bringing vulnerability to a part too often taken to extremes of evil. Even without the proximity the Chichester audiences had the two leads carried the production and made for a very enjoyable, if often frustrating, evening. Not the best Macbeth ever, but definitely an important one.

October 05, 2007

I Am Shakespeare @ Warwick Arts Centre

Before I even begin, I would like to separate this play from the authorship debate. Mark Rylance, former artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe and generally famous actor, is one of the most committed members of the anti-Stratfordian group, intent on questioning the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays. Rylance’s personal conviction is that Francis Bacon is the most likely candidate, but his primary motivation is to open up the question. His new play, I Am Shakespeare, is centred around this debate.

The problem with this, from the point of view of the production, is that people are using it as an excuse to review the authorship debate rather than the production itself. This isn’t helped by Rylance’s clear bias and reams of information and testimony in the programme, but it hurts the production. I’m not a fan of the authorship debate myself, I feel it’s primarily a bunch of zealous conspiracy theories that have very little relevance to the plays – and after all, the play’s the thing. However, I was very keen not to let my own bias affect my judgement of the production. Pointless or not, the authorship debate is an interesting one, with all the guilty pleasures associated with any conspiracy theory, and even though I wasn’t about to be swayed I was interested to see what was to be said, and how he was going to say it.

Unfortunately, the play is bad. The concept itself is ludicrous. Mark Rylance’s character, Frank Charlton, is a doubter who runs a live webcam chat show trying to put the case for other authors. In a freak storm, he and his simple neighbour are visited by the ghosts of Shakspar, Mary Sidney, Francis Bacon and Edward de Vere (because, of course, lightning storm combined with the world wide web produces ghosts) who all argue their own cases. Even if you’re still on board with the concept, all this creates is a dramatised debate. The scenes with Francis Bacon explaining his philosophy are some of the most tedious I’ve had to experience on stage as they leaped from conjecture to conjecture, fact to fact in a manner not unreminiscent of Time Team.

The comedy equally descended into the deeply unfortunate: a drunk Shakspar clocking a vitriolic Stratfordian; Mary Sidney flirting with a policeman coming to investigate a disturbance; Barry the neighbour clowning about in an attempt to create an everyman figure, all with the occasional Shakespearean quote thrown in to get a cheap laugh. Other jokes fell flat for different reasons: Frank’s embittered fantasy of proving the world’s most eminent Shakespeareans wrong may have worked elsewhere in the country, but when half the audience knows Jonathan Bate and Stanley Wells, insulting them isn’t going to go down well.

The play’s main difficulty, though, was in trying to cram in years of “scholarship” into a contrived stage situation. The dryness of the explanatory scenes removed almost any potential for actual drama- as interesting as signature comparisons may be, they are in no way dramatic. Livelier moments such as Edward de Vere’s entrance (which would have been very enjoyable if it weren’t for the fact the entire performance was lifted from Ben Affleck’s turn in Shakespeare In Love) were welcomed for the relief from the tedium of people talking.

The play’s structure worked heavily against it. The first half almost worked, with ghosts taking it in turn to come and make their case while Frank and Barry flapped about. The second half, however, descended into ridiculous chaos, with the conspiracy theories rushing into the deepest realms of fantasy (Mary Sidney, Francis Bacon, Kit Marlowe, Philip Sidney and Edward de Vere were all Elizabeth I’s illegitimate children, didn’t you know?) and some highly ill-advised interruptions. The fake audience member who stormed the stage as a fanatic Shakespearean was petty, the poll-taking of the audience was messy and unfocussed and the whole thing descended into an awful melodrama near the end as Barry and Frank turned on each other. If the play had made any attempt to make the audience give a damn about its two central characters this may have worked, but the human story was underdeveloped and uninteresting, and therefore the climax lacked any kind of impact.

So, what can be said for the production? To give Rylance credit, he did attempt to show all sides of the debate and went so far as to paint a very unsympathetic portrait of professional doubters (his character’s wife had left him as a result of his obsession). I also admit that I agree with the ultimate message of the play, that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as people are free to ask the question. It’s not a question I consider important, but I see no reason why people shouldn’t be allowed to study it. The attempt to use interactivity was also commendable even if the tiny audience couldn’t quite make it work. We were invited to phone the stage to ask questions, vote on our preferred candidate and, in the big climax, re-enacted Spartacus by all standing to scream “I am Shakespeare!”. This being right at the end of the play, it meant Rylance and co got a standing ovation, which is the biggest cheat I’ve ever seen in the theatre.

To finish, I’d say that I would be more than willing to hear Mark Rylance lecture on the subject. It’s an interesting debate and he’s clearly got a lot to say. But it’s the wrong topic for a play which ends up being a self-indulgent exercise and manages to kill the medium.

I am NOT Shakespeare.

October 04, 2007

I'm not gone

Yes, I’ve been a bit quiet lately. Sorry!

It’s been a very busy month since my review of Twelfth Night in Stratford. I’ve moved house (and still haven’t got my internet up and running), and work has been very busy in the run up to the new term. In addition, the local theatres have been very quiet lately. Warwick Arts Centre’s new season only started this week and Stratford’s in rehearsals for Henry V. However, it’s now October and I’m Back.

Watch this space in the coming weeks for reviews of, in no particular order:

I Am Shakespeare (Mark Rylance)
Casanova (Told by an Idiot)
Fragments (Theatre des Bouffes du Nord)
Invisible Bonfires (Forkbeard Fantasy)
Water (Filter)
Shades of Brown (Rasa)
Henry V (RSC)
Noughts and Crosses (RSC)
Fantastic Mr Fox (RSC)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Dash Arts)
Lisa’s Sex Strike (Northern Broadsides)
Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare’s Globe)
Macbeth (Gielgud Theatre)
Brief Encounter (Kneehigh)
Much Ado About Nothing (National)
King Lear (RSC)
Scenes from a Marriage (Belgrade)
Othello (Donmar)

I think it’s going to be a good season….

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Peter Kirwan is Teaching Associate in Shakespeare and Early Modern Drama at the University of Nottingham and a reviewer of Shakespearean theatre for several academic journals.

The Bardathon is his experimental review blog, covering productions of (or based on) all early modern plays. The aim is to combine immediate reactions with the detail and analysis of the academic review.

Theatre criticism always needs more voices. Please comment with your own views and contributions!

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