sun 18/02/2018

Shakespeare

All's Well That Ends Well, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - feisty, prickly and topical, as well

It's the people who are problematic, not the play. That's one take-away sentiment afforded by Caroline Byrne's sparky and provocative take on All's Well That Ends Well, that ever-peculiar Shakespeare "comedy" (really?) whose title is in ironic...

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Judi Dench: My Passion for Trees, BBC One review - an arboreal delight

“I am going to find out how much my trees live, breath, and even communicate. I am Judi Dench, and I have been an actor for 60 years – but I have had another passion ever since I was a little girl: I have adored trees. My six acres are a secret...

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Titus Andronicus, RSC, Barbican review - blood will out

Live theatre, eh? It had to happen. On press night a sound of what seemed to be snoring (the production’s really not dull) revealed, in the Barbican stalls, a collapse. About an hour in, a huge amount of blood is smeared over Titus Andronicus’s...

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Julius Caesar, RSC, Barbican review - Roman bromance plays straight

Even more than some of Shakespeare’s other histories, Julius Caesar inevitably offers itself to “topical interpretation”, a Rorschach test of a play which directors short of an original idea can extrapolate to project their own political aperçus...

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Antony and Cleopatra, RSC, Barbican review - rising grandeur

Is there a key to “infinite variety”? The challenge of Cleopatra is to convey the sheer fullness of the role, the sense that it defines, and is defined by only itself: there’s no saying that the glorious tragedy of the closing plays itself out, of...

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Falstaff, RLPO, Petrenko, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall review - Bryn Terfel leads a merry dance

Even seemingly immortal singers grow old. Sir Bryn is closer to the "Martinmas summer" of Shakespeare's and Verdi's Sir John than when first he put on the fat suit at the Royal Opera 18 years ago. Even if he walks the gouty walk that matches the...

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Coriolanus, Barbican review - great, late Shakespeare compels but doesn't stun

Coriolanus is post-tragic. It never horrifies like Macbeth or appals like King Lear, though its self-damaging protagonist is disconcerting enough. Shakespeare had written the signature dark dramas by 1606, including the most magnificent of the four...

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Extract: Peter Brook - Tip of the Tongue: Reflections on Language and Meaning

A long time ago when I was very young, a voice hidden deep within me whispered, "Don’t take anything for granted. Go and see for yourself." This little nagging murmur has led me to so many journeys, so many explorations, trying to live together...

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Richard III review - Temple Church venue is the star of the show

Temple Church gained worldwide fame when Dan Brown included a major plot point there in his mega-selling novel The Da Vinci Code in 2003, but it has been standing, minding its own business, since the late 12th century. Now it’s home for a short run...

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King Lear, Shakespeare's Globe - Nancy Meckler's Globe debut is unusually subdued

Every play is a Brexit play. This much we have learnt in the year since the referendum. But in Nancy Meckler’s hands the Globe’s new King Lear becomes the Brexit play – an unpicking of intergenerational responsibility and difference, of philosophies...

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Much Ado About Nothing, Shakespeare's Globe review - swaggering Shakespeare with a comic Spanish accent

When I say that Matthew Dunster’s Much Ado is revolutionary I’m not talking about the many textual updatings and rewritings, not the lashings of PJ Harvey, nor even the gunfire – weaponised punchlines that cut through the colour and noise of the...

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The Tempest, Barbican Theatre review - sound and fury at the expense of sense

Can The Tempest open on stage without a tempest – of crashing, shrieking and torment – and thus without what can become five minutes-plus of inaudibility? In Gregory Doran’s 2016 Stratford production for the RSC, revived at the Barbican Theatre...

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