Using the word ‘strong’ to describe women and girls is redundant. Putting up with all the trash that women have to deal with as a result of their gender, on top of everything else life throws at them, makes them strong by default.
Who knew one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies could be funny? Director and composer Claire van Kampen has tapped into a rare rhythm that sees Iago as a weaselly, clownish man lacking power and finesse, yet still manages to twist Othello into knots
Mexican company Los Colochos Teatro not only knows how to utilize Shakespeare’s Scottish Play in order to tell a story of the here and now, but also uses human imagination in a simple, yet creative and immersive way. Their Mendoza, based on Macbeth, is one of the best Shakespeare productions I have seen.
Two walls of Marshall amps sit either side of gleaming trusses. A DJ booth manned by a black-clad figure sports a banner for a place called Heorot. Smoke seeps through vents in the floor and a woman in goth metal dress prowls the stage.
A playwright wants to write a play about patricide, but with an actual criminal onstage instead of an actor. Initial research leads him to a young man called Martin Santos, serving consecutive life sentences in Belmarsh for killing his father.
This Hamlet, freshly transferred to the West End from the Almeida, is a slick, beast of a production surpassing three hours. Undeniably contemporary, it does its best to smash the restrictions of the proscenium arch with a celebrity cast and achingly cool, Scandi/corporate design.
Paying homage to Shakespeare’s genius but not slavishly binding themselves to it, Golem! sticks up two fingers at Shakespeare purists who, with quivering voices, clutch their pearls and gasp, “But the text!”
Exchange Theatre sets The Misanthrope in a contemporary newsroom full of gossip, affairs, backstabbing and cocaine-fueled all-nighters. Alceste loathes the way his colleagues behave, but fancies the flirtatious Celimene in spite of his prejudices.
As the audience enters, Greg Hicks sits at a pub table on an otherwise bare stage. It’s impossible not to watch him until the house lights dim, and this opening sets the tone for the two and a half hours to come.
Shirley’s script, with its echoes of Hamlet, Othello and The Spanish Tragedy, is less philosophical and more action. Whilst this makes it easy to follow and immediately engaging, the characters are more generally more limited in their scope for interpretation.
What with the prominent use of music in Twelfth Night, an actor-muso production is certainly a reasonable concept. Original Impact also sets the play in modern-day summertime, playing up the drunken frivolity at the forefront of the story.
A self-described modern rep company, Merely Theatre is addressing Shakespeare’s gender problem with 50/50 casting. Five male/female pairs each learn a set of characters in two plays, then on the night it’s decided who will perform.
In 2012, The RSC drew ire for its Orphan of Zhao casting in which there were a whole three East Asian actors. Though the production went ahead, RSC artistic director Greg Doran showed willing to listen and bring about change.
Dominic Cavendish can rest assured: he will not lose the opportunity to see his favourite (white) male actors in leading Shakespearean roles.
Kevin Spacey’s House of Cards character Frank Underwood has clear parallels with Shakespeare’s Richard III what with the former’s ruthless climb to the US presidency.
ith existentialism one of the cruxes of the story, this Three Sisters is a bleak echo of present day narcissism and hopelessness. Phil Willmott’s staging of a new, pared back translation doesn’t stagnate, though. Combined with a strong cast, this is production uncannily suits our times.
Persephone and Eurydice’s myths are defined by men. What happens when these men are removed and the characters plunged into a modern dreamscape? Maud Dromgoole’s Acorn brings these women and their fates together in a world of fragmented narratives and moments of biting wit.
There is hardly any Shakespeare at the fringe that isn’t dramatically altered in some way or another. Re-contextualisations abound, as does new work that’s derivative from a story or character. West Country-based Shakespeare on the Level’s Troilus and Cressida is neither of these.
It must be rather dull hanging out on a Scottish Heath with your sisters, waiting for some poor soul to come along to manipulate to the point of ruin. Fire Burn: The Tragedy of Macbeth tries to show the three witches re-enacting the tragedy they catalysed.
The self-deprecating, all-female company of players from Baltimore boot that myth out of the theatre with relish. Having learnt 45 scenes, speeches and moments from Shakespeare’s cannon, they promise to perform 30 of them in 60 minutes or else one of the actors gets a pie in the face.
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