Tag Archives: Shakespeare

The Shadow King @ The Barbican Review

This Malthouse Theatre production transports Shakespeare‘s tragedy King Lear to an Aboriginal community in the Northern Territories of Australia. Lear, played by the energetic Tom E. Lewis, who also co-wrote the story together with director Michael Kantor and the cast, is the leader of an indigenous community who decides to divide up his land between his three daughters – land that he has no right to give as Cordelia advises him in the opening scene: “You can’t give what you don’t own.” Written in a mixture of English, Kriol and other indigenous languages, the text is still easy to follow. “A tragedy this milli, our tragedy” explains the Fool (a charismatic Kamahi Djordan King) at the beginning of the performance.

The Shadow King

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Shakespeare on Film with Ian McKellen @ The BFI Review

“400 years on, Shakespeare’s plays continue to dominate stages worldwide, mostly of course in translation, challenging actors, directors, designers and audience.” Ian McKellen. BFI presents Shakespeare Lives, the biggest ever programme of Shakespeare in the UK and across the world, in collaboration with the British Council. In this two month long festival, there will be an international tour of 18 British films, new 4k restorations, and of course landmark films by Laurence Olivier, Orson Wells and Kenneth Branagh. In this introduction event, Shakespeare on Film, the BFI does not disappoint showcasing iconic film adaptations, the legend that is Ian McKellen and an in-depth analysis of adaptations over the years.

Ian Mckellen

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The Merchant of Venice @ The Olde Rose and Crown Theatre Review

One of Shakespeare‘s lesser performed, and perhaps lesser known The Merchant of Venice receives its moment in the spotlight thanks to the communal and diverse theatre troupe, the East London Shakespeare Company.

The Merchant of Venice

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Measure for Measure @ The Globe Review

Justice. Mercy. Religion. Power. Sex. The former two words are at the core of this season at the Globe, and perhaps no other works of the bard better encapsulate those themes than Measure for Measure.

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King Henry V @ The Union Theatre

Henry V is a difficult play in many ways. Even by Shakespearean standards the text is dense, the moments of comedic relief are few and far between and the characters aren‘t exactly the most charming of the Old Bard‘s canon. In other words, this play requires work from both audience and cast and if it pays it can be something amazing.

  
The Lazarus Theatre Company use an all female cast in this production, combining it with a slightly surreal aesthetic to spice it all up but ultimately rely on the Bard‘s words to carry the story. It feels a tad stif at times, and placing the break at the end of the fourth act makes for a long first half. After the break the story picks up at a much faster pace, ending with a beautifully theatric coronation.

The best moments of the play are the numerous battles, which the company find ways of conveying on stage. Being it by blowing out candles or throwing tennis balls they find ways of showing grand wars on a small stage. Between them we are faced with a wall of text and despite the obvious skill of the actresses, they seem to lack the drive to keep the endless soliloquys alive and interesting. Colette O’Rourke does a fine job as Henry, especially during the monologues where she is calling her people to war.

Sophie Tanza Quinn and Kerry Willison-Parry also do wonders, both managing to stand out from the cast with their energy and also genuinly seeming to be enjoying themselves. The mood of the play is very sombre and it is easy to like the two actresses for mixing that up a bit.

Ultimately this is a perfectly decent show. Nothing spectacular but with just enough interesting bits mixed in. The aesthetic is interesting and the surrealism of it lends much needed colour. Despite that and the cast, it’s a very pure production, with the emphasis on the difficult text. 3/5

Review written by Ingimar Sverrisson.

Henry V is currently showing at the Union Theatre until Saturday 18th July. For more information on the production, visit here…

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Measure For Measure @ The Barbican Review

Ever sit down in the theatre and realise the play is in Russian? Because that will happen if you visit the Barbican Centre and to see Cheek by Jowl‘s Measure for Measure

 

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Othello @ The Lyric Hammersmith Review

Ever wondered where the term, the ‘Green Eyed Monster’ originated from? Well it’s argued that Shakespeare coined the phrase in one of his greatest tragedies, Othello. A term associated with a strong feeling of jealousy, the phrase perfectly summarises the disastrous rise and fall of a once respected figure within society who finds himself torn between a web of lies spun by his ‘trustworthy’ best friend and the love of his life, whom he fears has committed an act of infidelity.

Othello

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A Winter’s Tale @ The Lion and Unicorn Theatre Review

A Winter’s Tale at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre (Kentish Town) follows paranoid and jealous King Leontes as he accuses his wife of adultery and the repercussions this causes. The production has been given a steam punk make-over which, although it was a struggle to make a link with, was very asthetically pleasing. The production has been directed and adapted by Ross McGregor and runs at a concise two hours including the interval.

A Winter's Tale

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Romeo and Juliet @ The Rose and Crown Theatre Review

2015 marks a significant birthday for one of the most celebrated playwrights off all time. Shakespeare‘s works have been adapted and performed for centuries, having inspired the likes of Hollywood to famous paintings. This year has seen various companies and venues taking part in the birthday celebrations, from the London Globe Theatre announcing a worldwide tour of Hamlet to the National Theatre of Edinburgh and London producing the James plays trilogy. The East London Shakespeare Company, founded by Jesse Ayertey bridges the gap between Shakespeare and the younger generation with their adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.

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Romeo and Juliet @ The Temple Church Review

We walked through the pouring rain and down a little alley to be greeted by Temple Church, its majesty emphasised by the dark and inclement weather. Ushered in, we took our seats with only the supine effigies of the Knight Templars who built the church between the stage and us. Antic Disposition chose to follow the building’s shape and place the performance in the round, the sculpted heads on the curved walls peering into the centre of the space with us. At that point, it was hard to think of a better setting for this tale of “death-mark’d love”.

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