wed 22/09/2021

RSC

First Person: Director Maria Aberg on drawing fresh inspiration for the future

When theatres in the UK closed last March, I found myself in a vacuum. Having been a freelance theatre director for over 15 years, I was used to busy – juggling a hectic schedule of directing shows with the reality of being a mum to two toddlers....

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The Winter's Tale, RSC, BBC Four review - post-war poise colours a solid production

It has been a hard coming for this RSC Winter’s Tale. Erica Whyman’s production was cancelled by the virus days before its premiere last spring, with plans to stage it in the autumn frustrated by the second lockdown. This broadcast version,...

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Dream, RSC online review - gaming version unleashes revolutionary potential

Which of Shakespeare’s plays is most plagued by misperception? For my money, I would argue A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Most people encounter it at school age because of the ease with which it can be dressed up as a light comedy involving fairies. Yet...

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Troy Story, RSC online review - biting off more than it can chew

At just under five hours, Troy Story, the RSC’s adaptation of as many tales from Greek myth, takes about a third as long as it does to recite the whole of the Iliad. It feels like longer. Gregory Doran’s production is ambitious in its starkness, but...

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The Merchant of Venice, BBC iPlayer review – a parable on the limits of tolerance

Ah, 2015. Those halcyon days of packed theatres. Thank God the RSC had the presence of mind to film Polly Findlay’s production of The Merchant of Venice, now streaming on BBC iPlayer. Condensed into just over two hours, it’s a thoughtful take on...

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Theatre Lockdown Special 2: Birthdays aplenty, songs of hope, a starry quiz - and more

As lockdown continues, so does the ability of the theatre community to find new ways to tantalise and entertain. The urge to create and perform surely isn't going to be reined-in by a virus, which explains the explosion of creatives lending their...

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Twelfth Night, RSC/Stratford-upon-Avon online review - inventive but underfelt

Twelfth Night is rarely long-absent from the British stage and nor is it in our current climate of streaming aplenty. This 2017 production for the RSC from the director Christopher Luscombe will soon be followed online by the National Theatre’s...

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A Christmas Carol, Old Vic Theatre review - the festive favourite mixes gloom with merriment

"Dickensian" commonly means both sentimental Victorian, apple-cheeked family perfection (especially at Christmas) and abject poverty. The story of Scrooge encompasses both as the old curmudgeon learns to mend his miserly ways and open his heart to...

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Measure for Measure, RSC, Barbican review - behind the times

Because he dramatised power, Shakespeare never really goes out of fashion. Treatments of his plays do though, and the RSC’s Measure for Measure, a transfer from Stratford set in turn-of-the-century Vienna, feels distinctly slack. The backdrop is...

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The Taming of the Shrew, Barbican review - different but still problematic

This is one play by Shakespeare ripe for tinkering. It's well nigh impossible now to take it at face value and still find romance and fun in the bullying: the physical and psychological abuse as a supposedly problematic wife is "tamed" into...

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As You Like It, Barbican review – uneven comedy lacks bite

Even the most ardent Bardophile has to admit that most of the time the Fool doesn’t shine in a Shakespeare production. Lamentable wordplay combined with philosophy limper than a dead capon means that with a few honourable exceptions, his interludes...

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First Person: Hannah Khalil on museum as metaphor in her new play for the RSC

It all started in 2009 in the National Portrait Gallery. I’d had a meeting nearby so popped in to get a cuppa and stare at the beautiful rooftop view of London from their top-floor café, but a picture caught my eye. It was part of an exhibition of...

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