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Sunday, 1 August 2021

REVIEW: William Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale for the SHAKE Festival

The Winter’s Tale is one of William Shakespeare’s later plays written in 1610 and so now his words are over 410 years old, yet they still create a mystical magical world in which love and faith are tested. Kenneth Branagh’s excellent stage version in which he played Leontes opposite Dame Judi Dench’s Paulina and Jessie Buckley’s Perdita was captured and realised in cinemas in 2019. In October 2020 Rob Myles’s version was streamed online as one of the “Show Must Go On” productions of the complete works of Shakespeare. When the SHAKE Festival announced a rehearsed reading of the play it was planned to be done from a theatre but was switched to a zoom stream via youtube. The result is a well-executed & well-spoken reading from the homes of the cast without gimmicks (aside from some silly woollen beards) but it fails to capture the magical world without staging. The technique works well if you are studying the text as you can follow it easily in the script as they present the show and focuses the viewer on the words but can’t replicate a live theatrical or cinematic capture.

Director Jenny Hall introduced the piece and acted as scene setter with the help of some simple period music by Finn Collinson on flute and Oliver Wass on harp but decided to request performers worked in front of largely plain white walls and without props. The audio is very clear and easy to follow, the video is generally good although Mark Quartley’s Leontes image was a little fuzzy and Oliver Cotton as the Shepherd was using a digital background which caused distracting artefacts.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST to play the Cockpit Theatre, produced by Tree Folk Theatre

“Be not afeard. The Isle is full of noises, sounds and sweet airs that give delight and hurt not”, Tree Folk Theatre will take you through the Tempest, guided by masks, puppetry and music. 

After two well-received shows (Tsarevich and The Wolf + Nights of Enchantment), Tree Folk Theatre are producing an in-the-round version of The Tempest in the Cockpit Theatre, 15th July - 3rd August. 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Phyllida Lloyd to direct all-female production of HENRY IV at Donmar Warehouse

The Donmar Warehouse today announces its next season of work.

Premiered at the Donmar Warehouse in 2012, Phyllida Lloyd’s all-female production of Julius Caesar sparked fierce critical and public debate both in the UK and in New York where it transferred in 2013 for a sold out run at St Ann’s Warehouse. The Donmar is delighted to announce a second production in what will become an epic trilogy of shows all of which will challenge the notion of who owns Shakespeare. Once again her cast will feature Harriet Walter as King Henry, Jade Anouka as Hotspur and Clare Dunne as Hal. The cast will also include Ashley McGuire as Falstaff.  The production will develop and enhance what was begun with Julius Caesar in a series of Education and Outreach projects. The company will work extensively with twenty schools, run over 75 workshops as well as offering £5 tickets to over 500 young people. The Donmar and Clean Break Theatre Company will work together on a series of workshops around the production.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


Disney and Sonia Friedman Productions are delighted to announce casting for the forthcoming stage production of Shakespeare in LoveThe announcement coincides with the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth.

Ian Bartholomew will play Tilney, Tony Bell will play Ralph, Anna Carteret will play Queen Elizabeth, Paul Chahidi will play Henslowe,David Ganley will play Burbage, Richard Howard will play Sir Robert De Lesseps, Harry Jardine will play Sam, Abigail McKern will play Nurse, David Oakes will play Marlowe, Patrick Osborne will play Mr Wabash, Alistair Petrie will play Wessex, Doug Rao will play Ned Alleyn,Ferdy Roberts will play Fennyman and Colin Ryan will play John Webster.  They are joined by an ensemble including Daisy BoultonRyan Donaldson, Janet Fullerlove, Sandy Murray, Timothy O’Hara, Thomas Padden, Elliott Rennie, Charlie Tighe and Tim Van Eyken who will also be musical director. Gaiety will play Crab the dog. Further casting is still to be announced.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

A Midsummer Nights Dream: Theatre Review

Linking a classic Shakespeare play to the Traveller culture which most people know about from the hit TV show 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' sounds like a bizarre and almost ridiculous idea. But it works. For the 2012 season at Regent's Park Open Air Theatre they are doing two shows in repetition, Ragtime and A Midsummer Night's Dream and I had the pleasure of attending a preview for A Midsummer Night's Dream. This theatre seems like the perfect place to put on this play, and of course it is. You're outside in one of London's most beautiful parks, add a few coloured lights to it and it would be the most enchanting setting for this play. Not in this production, obviously they have the beauty aspects that they use to full advantage (how could you not?!) but add in two caravans, a crane and a load of gypsies then you've got this adaptation of one of William Shakespeare's most famous plays. The Open Air Theatre is currently in their 80thSeason and continues to amaze audiences with their productions. Their most recent and most famous ones include the Olivier Award Winning productions Crazy For You, Into The Woods and Hello, Dolly! Their decision to do yet another production of A Midsummer Night's Dream may not come as a surprise but when you see what they've done with the piece, you'll never forget it.
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