This vibrant, vicious, violent, and vivacious two-hour adaptation by Scott Graham and Simon Hoggett for Frantic Assembly at the Lyric Hammersmith places Othello in a land of gangs, drugs, and booze.
The National Theatre’s Lyttelton stage has been transformed with steps and terraces around the performance space, creating a look that is a cross between an ancient greek theatre and a fighting pit. Before the play starts, images of past productions of Othello and the year they were performed are projected onto the steps and back wall as a reminder of the story’s timelessness.
Othello at the National Theatre is a production that has thought very carefully about the things it wants to say and, particularly, what Othello has meant at different points in its performance history. Clint Dyer’s perspective is not on fire just yet but it soon will be, bringing a meaningful reflection on Shakespeare’s tale to the stage while clearly distinguishing it from all of those that have come before.
Hot on the heels of my post-show Q&A for Doctor Faustus, I’m pleased to announce I’ll return to Southwark Playhouse in January to continue my long-time association with Lazarus Theatre Company, discussing their brand-new production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
Anna Coombs’ adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard II sees the story slimmed down for five actors, with three of the cast playing more than one character. It focuses the attention on King Richard (Daniel Rock) and his cousins, the loyal Aumerle (Lebogang Fisher) and Henry Bollingbroke (Raheim Menzies), and the power tussle between them for the crown
Lean, mean and totally uncompromising, Frantic Assembly bring a newly updated and gritty version of Shakespeare’s Othello to The Lowry as part of their UK tour. Razor-sharp and captivating, Frantic Assembly’s pulsating and athletic physical style adds new depth to Shakespeare’s text.
Abigail Thorn’s new play The Prince takes inspiration from Shakespeare and time travel to deliver a funny and deeply original take on gender norms and expectations.
In 1600 English Will Kemp triumphantly arrived in Norwich after Morris dancing the entire 125-mile journey from London. Now audiences can relive his one-man romp through the country lanes of Elizabethan England in Blue Fire Theatre Company’s production of Kemp’s Jig which is heading to those very locations: the Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich on 28 September 2022 and Hampton Hill Theatre in Richmond on 1 October.
Three Women & Shakespeare’s Will comes from the pen of Joan Greening who has made something of a speciality of writing about historical figures connected to the arts, albeit in imaginary settings/situations. Thus in recent years she has given us the relationship dynamics of three literary sisters in At Home With The Brontës and a trio of Rosetti’s Women and their influence on the titular painter.
The play All’s Well That Ends Well at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon provides a lot of food for thought, but under McIntyre’s eye it remains a humorous piece. This excellent adaptation is mesmerising from start to finish and is one of the best RSC productions I’ve seen.
The Tempest at Shakespeare’s Globe is an unexpectedly hilarious production of a potentially tricky play, with vibrant direction from Sean Holmes – George Fouracres, Ralph Davis and Ciarán O’Brien shine as a comedy trio.
Written in collaboration with John Fletcher, Henry VIII is quite possibly Shakespeare’s final play – but, despite this country’s continued obsession with all things Tudor, it remains a rarely performed piece. Imagine the delight of Shakespeare completists everywhere when it was announced as part of the Globe’s 2022 summer season, this time in a slightly updated version that sees Hannah Khalil (resident writer) become the third collaborator; the original has a heavy male focus, thanks in part to the two (male) playwrights having to work around the expectations of the establishment to avoid censorship and arrest – but now 400 years have passed, it’s about time the female voices in this story were heard as well.
A star danced, and under it was Simon Godwin’s joyful, 1930s Riviera production born. Quite apart from the fact that it is nice to have the earnest NT enjoying two outbreaks of frenetic jitterbug dancing at once – Jack Absolute upstairs at the Olivier, and here Much Ado About Nothing set in the Mediterranean hotel world of Noel Coward – where it feats with unexpected neatness.
Award-winning Canadian director Mona Zaidi is ready for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022, having staged Justin Hay’s critically acclaimed play My Own Private Shakespeare which continues its run at the Willow Studio, Greenside at Riddle’s Court until 27 August 2022.
The Globe Theatre’s production of William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar begins with the news that Julius Caesar has defeated Pompey. Right from the start, the audience is required to be part of the action as we are the commoners who are celebrating his triumphant return.
Simon Godwin’s new production of Much Ado About Nothing for the National initially seems to be going for the full-on romantic escapism, from the bougainvillea and sun-kissed (Amalfi?) coast of the front curtain to the gorgeous Art Deco-meets-Italianate Palazzo mixture of colour and elegance of Anna Fleischle’s hotel setting
The Globe’s main, outdoor theatre has not staged shows with a full audience since the summer of 2019, so the opening of its summer season with Lucy Bailey’s production of Much Ado About Nothing feels like an occasion.
Running in rep alongside Henry VI: Rebellion (a.k.a. Henry VI, part two), the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre is also currently home to Henry VI, part three. As with the previous part, this third play in Shakespeare’s first Henriad has been renamed – going under the title Henry VI: Wars of the Roses.
Mike Bartlett has made a bit of an art out of notions of the counter-factual future. In The 47th, he grounds his flights of fancy in the knowledge of institutions, people and political tides.
The story begins with Henry welcoming his new bride, Margaret of Anjou, with a boisterous feast that isn’t exactly suited to his calm and reserved temperament – though Margaret immediately feels at home.