wed 28/02/2024

17th century

Samuel Takes a Break... in Male Dungeon No. 5 after a long but generally successful day of tours, The Yard Theatre review - funny and thought-provoking

You do not need to be Einstein to feel it. If the only dimension missing is time, 75% of a place’s identity can invade your very being, hollow you out, replace your soul with a void. It happened to me at Auschwitz and it’s happening to Samuel at...

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The Good John Proctor, Jermyn Street Theatre review - Salem-set drama loses some of its power in London

It is no surprise that the phrase “Witch Hunt” is Donald Trump’s favoured term to describe his legal travails. Leaving aside its connotations of a malevolent state going after an innocent victim whilst in the throes of a self-serving moral panic, it...

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Siglo de Oro, Spinacino Consort, Allies, Wigmore Hall review - a fun 17th century musical Christmas

The Wigmore Hall, the high church of Beethoven and Brahms, hosted something less elevated last night: a programme called “Hey for Christmas” presented by vocal ensemble Siglo de Oro and period instrument band Spinacino. The conceit was of recreating...

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Shakespeare: Rise of a Genius, BBC Two review - the Bard's soul bared in hybrid drama-documentary

Four centuries on from the publication of the First Folio, is there anything new to be said about William Shakespeare? Well, the fact that there is nothing old to be said about him (very little is known about the life of the glover’s son from...

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Masque of Might, Opera North review - a tale of ecological virtue

Sir David Pountney’s creation of a “masque” performance for our times, recycling music Purcell wrote for his, is downright good entertainment even if the plotline’s a bit incoherent.Now that’s a virtue, if you look at the 17th century models he’s...

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The Changeling, Southwark Playhouse review - wild ride proves too bumpy to land all its points

Writing about the upcoming 60th anniversary of the founding of the National Theatre in The Guardian recently, the usually reliable Michael Billington made a rare misstep. He called for the successor to Rufus Norris, the departing artistic director,...

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I Fagiolini, Hollingworth, Kings Place review - magnificent Monteverdi Vespers

It was great to see Kings Place full on Saturday night for I Fagiolini’s take on the Monteverdi Vespers, added, rock’n’roll style, as an “additional date due to public demand” after the Friday show sold out. And it was superb. Hearing the Vespers,...

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Macbeth, Shakespeare's Globe review - uneven production of intermittent power

That Shakespeare speaks to his audiences anew with every production is a cliché, but, like so many such, the glib blandness of the assertion conceals an insistent truth. The Thane of Glamis has had some success in life, gains preferment from those...

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The Crown Jewels, Garrick Theatre review - star laden comedy fails to sparkle

At first, it’s hard to believe that the true story of Colonel Blood’s audacious attempt to steal The Crown Jewels from the Tower of London in 1671 has not provided the basis for a play before. After two hours of Simon Nye’s pedestrian telling of the...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare's Globe review - busy production overflowing with new ideas

Two years on from Sean Holmes’ production and seven on from Emma Rice’s (both of which featured diverse casts), Elle While takes a turn with the old warhorse’s lovers and fairies, its sparring couples and its Morecambe and Wise-like shambles of a...

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Life is a Dream, Cheek by Jowl, Barbican Theatre review - savouring the Spanish of a singular masterpiece

Dream versus reality, fate and free will, love and death, nature versus nurture: they’re all here in Calderón de la Barca’ s ever-startling baroque panopticon, a play so precociously meta that every theatrical game from Pirandello onwards deserves...

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Blu-ray: Saraband for Dead Lovers

The 17th century romantic tragedy Saraband for Dead Lovers (1948), Ealing Studios' first Technicolor film, was conceived as a magnificent spectacle. The opulent costumes and Oscar-winning sets, shot in pleasingly muted tones and rendered almost 3D...

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