mon 22/04/2019

Shakespeare

Twelfth Night, Young Vic review - Kwame Kwei-Armah makes a big-hearted return home

What better way to celebrate a homecoming than with a party? That is the capacious-hearted thinking behind this new musical version of Twelfth Night, which additionally marks Kwame Kwei-Armah's debut production at the helm of that undeniable dynamo...

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Antony and Cleopatra, National Theatre review - Ralph Fiennes in marvellous throttle

You always wonder about those final scenes of Shakespeare’s tragedies. Are they really needed dramatically; do they work? We understand, of course, that a closing exhalation may add impact to high passions just witnessed. But is it just a romantic...

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Twelfth Night, Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh - a touch too sweet

“Well, that was really sweet,” one young audience member in front of me remarked on his way out of Edinburgh’s Lyceum Theatre. And yes, there’s no denying that director Wils Wilson’s colourful, psychedelic, summer-of-love-set Twelfth Night, the...

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Henry V, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol review - the pity of war

Henry V is a play shot through with martial energy and the terrible chaos of war. The almost overpowering violence and energy that characterise the story give the unfolding of the drama a permanently disrupted form, as if the unpredictability of...

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Love's Labour's Lost, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse review - in praise of a fantastical Spaniard

If ever there was a play of “well bandied” words, it’s surely Love’s Labour’s Lost. The early Shakespearean comedy may once have hit a highpoint for verbal wit, but much of that context – the word play, the allusions, the sheer stylistic preening...

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Pericles, National Theatre review - a fizzingly energetic production

A break-dancing mini Michael Jackson, a transvestite Neptune, and a hero who wears his hubris as proudly as his gold-tipped trainers, are unconventional even by Shakespeare’s standards, but they all play a key part in this joyful act of subversion....

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Emilia, Shakespeare's Globe review - polemic disguised as a play

It feels like Michelle Terry’s first summer season at the Globe has been building up to Emilia for a while now. The theme is Shakespeare and race, so Othello was something of a given. It's joined by The Winter’s Tale, as if the Emilias of these two...

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King Lear, Duke of York's Theatre, review - towering Ian McKellen

Jonathan Munby's production starring Ian McKellen, first seen last year in Chichester and now transferred to the West End, reflects our everyday anxieties, emphasising in the world of a Trump presidency, the dangers of childish, petulant...

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As You Like It, Regent's Park Open Air Theatre review - love among the bucolic hippies

It's been raining in Regent's Park. On a balmy summer evening during a prolonged dry spell – perfect for outdoor theatrics – it seems ironic to tempt fate by creating artificial downpours and thunderstorms. But this music-filled, modern-dress...

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As You Like It, Shakespeare in the Squares review - an exuberant celebration of the Summer of Love

Gender-bending, confused identities, and hedonistic anarchy go together as naturally in summer Shakespeare as strawberries and cucumbers in Pimms, and in Tatty Hennessy’s exuberant alfresco version of As You Like It, touring to squares across...

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The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare's Globe review - a chilly tale for a time of austerity

“A sad tale’s best for winter,” Leontes’ young son Mamillius tells us. By that logic the current summer heatwave should be bringing us a Winter’s Tale overflowing with joy – the songs of Bohemia drowning out the shouted accusations and desperate...

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A Midsummer Night's Dream, Wilton's Music Hall review - a stereotype-smashing evening of pagan delights

The Faction’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a production in which women are more likely to kick ass than sleep with one – a muscular, mischievous take on the Bard’s most light-hearted play about forbidden love. As might be expected, this boldly...

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