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.
I’ll confess to being unsure how well audiences would take to a play that – on the page at least – is a complete mess with no discernible central plot. Thankfully, director Melly Still and her team have largely kept the story flowing and, with the help of some inspired casting choices, enabled us to be drawn to characters that can all too often be unlikeable.
The first impression of this RSC import to London is messiness. The staging; nipped and tucked from the RSC thrust to the Barbican widescreen. The performances; broad and occasionally unwieldy. The design; confused, clunky and distracting.
All praise Emma Rice! Under Dominic Dromgoole’s artistic directorship, The Globe’s commitment to innovation in Shakespeare production first established during Mark Rylance’s reign fell by the wayside in favour of new writing.
So, retitled Imogen and set in modern London is the play really “reclaimed” as the publicity suggests? Well… no, not really. Cymbeline may be the title character but it’s always been Imogen’s story
Someone find Mark Rylance and distract him. Take him far from Bankside so he can’t see what they’ve done. Not only are the ruffs not starched in the traditional method…there aren’t even any ruffs.
The Royal Shakespeare Company transfers two shows to the West End’s Theatre Royal Haymarket – Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing – and four more to the Barbican – The Alchemist, Doctor Faustus, Cymbeline and King Lear – in 2016.
This week the London theatre bloggers discuss Cymbeline at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, The Rolling Stone at the Orange Tree, The Picture of Dorian Gray at Trafalgar Studios and The Long Road South at the King’s Head.
The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced its winter 2016 season, marking Shakespeare’s 400 anniversary with seven productions in its Stratford-upon-Avon home, including three productions in the Swan Theatre, which itself celebrates its 30th anniversary. Overview ROYAL SHAKESPEARE THEATRE King Lear directed by Gregory Doran, with Antony Sher in the title role, David Troughton as Gloucester and Paapa Essiedu as Edmund …
In that little wooden candlelit nest of magic and wonder that is the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Sam Yates directs a dreamy, fairytale-like Cymbeline. Originally written to be performed across the river at the Blackfriars playhouse (and now playing in that venue’s simulacrum), the play is a tragicomedy with heavy dark elements (jealousy, betrayal, poisoning, the list goes on) none of which appears to do much harm to this reassuring and family-friendly Globe production.
This is part of Dominic Dromgoole’s candlelit farewell to his tenure at the Globe: a set of late Shakespeare romances , and follows his own fine PERICLES the other week. This one is directed by Sam Yates, and with its geographical wandering, improbable happenings, and odd lumps of possibly-non- Shakespeare text it is even knottier. But in the end, a fine and satisfying knot, finished with a neat bow.
Exciting news from Shakespeare’s Globe as they bid farewell to Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole with a winter season that brings together the plays thought to have been written by Shakespeare for indoor theatre and plays them out on the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse stage. Read on for full details…
Shakespeare’s Globe is delighted to announce Dominic Dromgoole’s final season as Artistic Director. For the first time, the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse will host Shakespeare as part of the main season. Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest will play in the candlelit indoor theatre between November 2015 and April 2016. Multi award-winning actress Eileen Atkins will also return with her critically-acclaimed Ellen Terry with Eileen Atkins in January and February 2016.
These four plays, written by Shakespeare to exploit the potential of the Blackfriars, the indoor playhouse his company made their winter home in 1609, share a host of thematic links and a delight in using the technical and imaginative possibilities of the indoor theatres.
Opening the season of candlelit Shakespeares on 19 November, Pericles sets out an adventurous tale of the heroic Pericles’ escape from assassination on discovering incest at the heart of the Kingdom of Antioch. Pericles harks back to some of Shakespeare’s earlier work, with a plot fuelled by mistaken identity and families fragmented by shipwrecks.
From 2 December, Cymbeline charts the virtuous Imogen, daughter of the British king Cymbeline, journeying from England to Wales disguised as a boy, in search of her lowborn and exiled husband, Posthumus. The eclectic plot sees Imogen’s struggle to maintain integrity throughout the play to its eventual romantic resolution.
Running from 28 January to 22 April, The Winter’s Tale tells of how King Leontes loses his wife and newborn daughter through his furious yet baseless jealousy. A long journey through time and across borders eventually effects an astonishing and redemptive resolution. Boasting the most famous stage direction in history, ‘Exit, pursued by a bear’, this is one of Shakespeare’s most imaginative, troubling and delightful plays.
The Tempest will be directed by Dominic Dromgoole. Running from 17 February, it will be his final production as Artistic Director. Prior to his appointment in 2006, Dominic was Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre, Director of New Writing at the Old Vic and Artistic Director of the Oxford Stage Company (now Headlong). The upcoming Measure for Measure (opening 20 June) will be his final show for the Globe Theatre. Taking place on a deserted island populated by the spirits and witches, as well as the banished duke Prospero and his effervescent daughter Miranda, The Tempest is considered by many to be Shakespeare’s personal farewell to the stage.
From 11 January, Dame Eileen Atkins returns to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse with her much-celebrated Ellen Terry with Eileen Atkins. Having offered the first performance of Shakespeare in the Playhouse, she will once again take to the stage to perform her adaptation of Ellen Terry’s Four Lectures on Shakespeare. Dubbed a ‘remarkable evening’ by The Guardian, the adaptation created by Eileen sees her perform a dozen parts – from Viola to Volumnia. Her extensive credits for film and television include Cranford, for which she won both a BAFTA and an Emmy, Upstairs, Downstairs and Gosford Park. Her most recent stage appearance was the lead role in the RSC’s The Witch of Edmonton, and her other stage credits include Mrs Rooney in a critically-acclaimed production of Beckett’s All That Fall with Michael Gambon at the Jermyn Street Theatre, and subsequently in the West End.
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Tickets £5 – £43 (Globe Theatre) £10 – £60 (Sam Wanamaker Playhouse)