If anything, the resonances in Mike Bartlett’s Albion have grown and strengthened as countrywide divisions have hardened.
Albion is a meaty, emotional and funny play with a superb Victoria Hamilton drawing out the complexity of Audrey, even if you don’t feel sorry for her.
The Almeida Theatre has announced the full cast for its revival of Mike Bartlett’s Albion, directed by Rupert Goold, running from 3-29 February 2020 (press night is 5 February) following the play’s acclaimed run in 2017.
Henry IV Part 1 is a fast-paced, fun production that speaks to our politically unstable times – a great way to start the new season.
Shakespeare’s Globe has announced its summer season 2019. The celebration and interrogation of ‘our sceptred isle’ through Shakespeare’s history plays continues with Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V, while elsewhere there is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Ben Jonson’s Bartholomew Fair, and the return of 2018’s As You Like It.
Though there are plenty of positive elements across As You Like It and Hamlet, they don’t cohere as part of an over-arching style or concept.
Here, in Shakespeare’s, 400 years ago, actors ‘conjured’ and beguiled their audiences. And so here, too, in 2018, theatre and As You Like It has again worked its magic.
A strong opening gambit then from Michelle Terry with As You Like It and Hamlet, and one which makes me quietly excited for her tenure as she further explores how inclusive Shakespeare can be for audiences both old and new.
Shakespeare’s Globe has announced casting for Hamlet and As You Like It, the opening shows of Michelle Terry’s first season as artistic director.
Albion has strong writing, intriguing characters and one barn-storming lead role. However, it is also flabby, predictable and clichéd so, despite its various strengths, it amounts to a frustrating evening.
Rupert Goold’s previous, James Graham’s Ink, went on to enjoy its present run in the West End. For sheer entertainment value, I’ll be amazed if Mike Bartlett’s stirring eulogy for a disappearing but not completely gone England and Englishness doesn’t go the same way.
Albion begins with Audrey, played with indefatigable energy by Victoria Hamilton, in the garden of her deceased uncle’s family home, deep in the English countryside. She has bought the property, which boasts a historic 1920s garden, now much overgrown, which a First World War veteran once formed into a pastoral paradise fit for heroes.
Both Audrey and Anna’s behaviour hover often on the edge of psychological incredibility – especially if you actually are a woman – but then so have all the great tales from Medea to Lady Macbeth.