2015

Queen Anne

Swan Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

© Manuel Harlan

© Manuel Harlan

Why don’t we know more about Queen Anne (1665-1714)? Squashed between William and Mary and the first of the Hanoverians, George I, Anne seems to have been completely overlooked by history or, at least, our agreed cultural narrative that favours Elizabeth and Victoria over the stout, rather solemn figure who stares out from royal portraiture. Continue reading

The Distance

Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, London (***)

© Johan Persson

© Johan Persson

A year on from taking over, Paul Miller must be looking back on his first twelve months with huge satisfaction with awards for director Ned Bennett (for Pomona), Joel MacCormack for his performance in Doris Lessing’s Each His Own Wilderness as well as critical acknowledge with this year’s Empty Space Peter Brook Award. Continue reading

Little Eyolf

Almeida Theatre, London (****)

© Hugo Glendinning

© Hugo Glendinning

Richard Eyre, the National Theatre’s former supremo is making himself something of a specialist when it comes to Ibsen. Having adapted and directed Hedda Gabler and Ghosts to loud acclaim, now he’s taken on Ibsen’s less familiar Little Eyolf. What emerges is a taut chamber portrait of marriage and guilt – a template for later studies of marital warfare from Strindberg to Albee. Continue reading

Lulu – A Murder Ballad – The Tiger Lillies

Linbury Studio, Royal Opera House, London (**** music content; ***  visual design/production)

© Tom Arber

© Tom Arber

Lulu, who is she? Femme fatale, fallen woman, whore? Ever since Frank Wedekind created his young temptress, Lulu has been the inspiration for a wildly contrasting selection of interpreters from Alban Berg’s 1937 opera to Lou Reed just before his death in 2013. Continue reading

The Divided Laing – Or The Two Ronnies

Arcola Theatre, London (****)

© Adam Bennett

© Adam Bennett

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow. Patrick Marmion, erstwhile theatre critic turned play and screen-writer has produced a hugely enjoyable, anarchic, 1970s type anti-capitalist blast for today built around R D Laing, the controversial Scottish psychiatrist. Continue reading

Henry V

Barbican Theatre, London (****)

© Keith Pattison

© Keith Pattison

The RSC’s ambitions know no bounds. Even whilst Greg Doran’s four-play King and Country culminates at the Barbican with revivals of Richard II (with David Tennant), Henry IV parts 1 & 2 (with Antony Sher and Jasper Britton) and Henry V, they’re also embarked on a translation of the complete works of Shakespeare into Chinese, to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s First Folio in 2023. Continue reading