Review: Much Ado About Nothing, Gray’s Inn Hall

Antic Disposition move Much Ado About Nothing to 1940s France with much success, and play it in the austere surroundings of Gray’s Inn Hall

“There was a star danced, and under that was I born”

Bienvenue à la Place de Messina pour Beaucoup de bruit pour rien. For Antic Disposition’s take on Much Ado About Nothing relocates Shakespeare’s evergreen comedy in the summer of 1945 in a village in rural France. War is over, the checked tablecloths are out, the vin rosé (or Orangina si tu veux) is flowing and with an Anglo-French company, a hugely characterful take on the play emerges.

Drawing on the influence of Jacques Tati to deliver a unique blend of physical comedy and neatly observed verse-reading, co-directors Ben Horslen and John Risebero transport the play effortlessly into this new milieu. Louis Bernard’s Dogberry is a complete revelation in this respect, a constant presence since he’s the manager of the village bar and to be honest, I could watch a whole play of him just bumbling about with his comic shenanigans.  Continue reading “Review: Much Ado About Nothing, Gray’s Inn Hall”

Review: Hamlet, Almeida

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” 

The enduring image of Robert Icke’s Hamlet is family – the repeated motif of group of three cleaving together haunts the production as much as Hamlet’s father himself. From the instant and intense bond established between Polonius, Ophelia and Laertes, Icke makes striking emotional sense of the respective grief and ferocity of the latter two, powerfully played by Jessica Brown Findlay and Luke Thompson against Peter Wight’s twinkling charm as their father.

And Icke also gives the tragic visual of Andrew Scott’s Hamlet trying to rebuild his original family unit, joining hands with his mother and the ghost of his father in the midst of the closet scene, willing Juliet Stevenson’s Gertrude to see what he sees, to put things back the way they used to be. And in a stunning montage for the final scene, these trios reform, emphasising the innate happiness of one and the deep tragedy of the other. It is deeply, deeply felt. Continue reading “Review: Hamlet, Almeida”

20 shows to look forward to in 2017

2017 is only just over a week away now and the reviewing diary is already filling up! All sorts of headline-grabbing West End shows have already been announced (The Glass Menagerie, Who’s Afraid Of Virginia Woolf, Don Juan In Soho, The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia) and the National look to continue a sensational year with another (Twelfth Night, Consent, the heaven-sent Angels in America), so this list is looking a little further afield to the London fringe and some of the UK theatres I hope to get to throughout the year.


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Bolton Octagon

After hearing Elizabeth Newman speak passionately on a panel discussion about women’s theatre, I kinda have a big (intellectual) crush on her, so I’m very keen to see her tackle a new adaptation by Deborah McAndrew of the classic Anne Bronte novel in a theatre that is very close to my heart.
Continue reading “20 shows to look forward to in 2017”