sun 04/12/2022

RSC

A Christmas Carol, RSC, Stratford review - family show eases back the terror and winds up the politics

Life is full of coincidences and contradictions. As I was walking to the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, the Chancellor of the Exchequer was on his feet in the House of Commons delivering yet another rebalancing of individual and collective resources. On...

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Good, Harold Pinter Theatre review - brilliant but half-baked

“The bands came in 1933.” So begins C P Taylor’s Good, a play that tries its hardest to resist being Googled. It was first performed by the RSC in 1981; this production, starring David Tennant as a mild-mannered German professor who gradually...

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Antony Sher: 'I discovered I could be other people'

The energy of Antony Sher, who has died at the age of 72, was prodigious. He not only acted like a fizzing firecracker. He wrote books about his most celebrated roles, and several novels set in his native South Africa. He also wrote plays, and he...

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The Comedy of Errors, RSC, Barbican review - Shakespearean Christmas panto

“Am I myself?” At the tangled centre of Shakespeare’s comedy of two pairs of identical twins, servant Dromio asks the question on which everything else hangs. The delivery is exasperated, the context bantering, but the words are the flimsy door onto...

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The Magician's Elephant, Royal Shakespeare Theatre review - family musical doesn't fully deliver

Trigger warnings have become commonplace in theatres these days, but few chill the blood like the description "a new musical" on a playbill. There are so many things to go wrong, so few ways to get things right and, never far away, the dissenters...

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The Cherry Orchard, Windsor Theatre Royal review - Tolstoy meets Mrs Two Soups

The cherry orchard in Anton Chekhov’s eponymous play is a classic MacGuffin, its existence a reason to stir the sorts of resentments, fancies and identity causes that start wars and revolutions. The orchard’s beautiful, and that’s all – a cultivated...

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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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