Here is a snapshot of my favourite theatre from the past 10 years, the plays that stand out most in my memory, the ones I talk about if people ask.
The Taming of the Shrew remains an undoubtedly stimulating evening and well worth a visit, if only to witness the script re-imagined and reinterpreted – a pleasing rarity.
Director Kimberley Sykes embraces the playful text of As You Like It with a diverse and tuneful cast so at ease with the text that off-the-cuff moments and audience interaction are plentiful.
Don’t go to Rooms if you want an easy, escapist 75 minutes, but do go for language, atmosphere, the darkest corners of your own psyches touched with raw beauty.
Cillian Murphy and writer Enda Walsh’s collaborations on stage tend to lean towards the surreal and avant-garde and Grief Is The Thing With Feathers is no exception.
Grief on stage and in popular culture is rarely considered as a psychological state of its own but as a means or driver for other behaviour.
Starting off 2019 with plenty of theatre in the diary, these are the nine plays Rev Stan is particularly looking forward to seeing.
Returning to the RSC and the Barbican for The Merry Wives of Windsor after his triumph in Titus Andronicus last year is David Troughton as the drunken and self-proclaimed womaniser, Falstaff, his caricaturesque performance mirroring the cartoony nature of the plot, characters, script and direction.
This is a Macbeth that emphasises the psychological horror of the story. It is a brutal and murderous play, but priority is given to the effects of the violence rather than the violence itself.
So what can be done to make Shakespeare less boring, or prove that Shakespeare isn’t boring (depending on how you look at it)? It does feel to me that we’re in the middle of a golden age of Shakespeare productions.
This Macbeth should be an absolute blinder with such a strong and perfectly brooding lead… but unfortunately, the production falls a little flat in pivotal places.
Is it ironic that the most emotionally powerful scene of the RSC’s Macbeth at the Barbican comes in a rare moment of silence and stillness, a scene when the Macbeths are nowhere to be seen?
In contrast to Rufus Norris’ Macbeth at the National, with Rory Kinnear and Anne-Marie Duff, the RSC’s current production is focused and direct. This ensures that it is more of a success, but also proves its weakness. Polly Findlay’s production is certainly the more coherent and features strong leads.
This time round Ryan Penny’s bringing back the evening of new writing, On The Night, in a slightly different format, split over two Mondays this month, and heading straight down to Plymouth after the second show to debut Simon Godfrey’s new play Beyond The Grave at their fringe festival.
For what Donnellan accomplishes with classical text, here so often revered and dogmatically adhered to, still makes Pericles worthy of praise.
Later this year, the three Shakespeare productions from the Royal Shakespeare Company’s current Stratford-upon-Avon season this spring will transfer into the Barbican Theatre from October.
Headed up with an engaging performance from RSC stalwart David Troughton as the frail but somehow still intimidating Titus Andronicus, the play is quite the ride with humour kept firmly at the forefront even as Titus finds himself losing a limb, very slowly.
As it’s the first of the month, we’re taking a moment to remind ourselves of the most popular contributions from our 20+ syndicate Mates bloggers from the month just closed. What were the reviews and other blogs that got readers clicking most? Any surprises? Our Top 25 Mates Blogs from November 2017 are listed below with summaries and links to read more.
The evening’s star performance comes from Haydn Gwynne who brings a strength and elegance to Volumnia. Playing the ever loving yet overbearing mother of Coriolanus, she dreams of success and glory for her son.
In a literally magical production, the London transfer of Stratford-upon-Avon’s 2016 hit sees Simon Russell Beale as Prospero shipwrecked on an enchanted island in the Med.
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