The Tragedy of King Richard The Second is not stately, sacred, shockingly regicidal Shakespeareana. This is a brawl, a nasty coup against a hopeless king, a howl of rage at what fools, in power politics, these mortals be.
Has the performance of A Christmas Carol, and Simon Callow, changed over the years? Probably, but not from ego or bravura, no cheap tricks, no knowing modernities: if anything the sincerity has deepened.
A few hours after Theresa May postponed the parliamentary vote and spun us down into another layer of Brexi-hell, the little OFS – a theatre shared with Crisis homeless centre – gave us this premiere by Mike Bartlett.
The great thing about the proud tradition of Oxford Playhouse panto is that while cannily aware of the audience’s likely cultural uplift, it has no fear of getting down and dirty with the rackety, popular and downright silly, and a firm grip on local in-jokes.
This Uncle Vanya at Hampstead Theatre one has to revolve around Vanya, and Alan Cox is suitably winning in Vanya’s dismayed, demoralised self-aware failure to count in life, and his hopeless mooning admiration of the lovely Yelena, who has married his awful old brother-in-law the Professor.