Shakespeare

Is it time to cancel Sophocles?

27 February 2021 9:00 am

Gstaad The sun has returned, the snow is so-so, and exercise has replaced everything, including romance. What a way to…

As an essay in cheap comedy the show is a great success: Emilia reviewed

21 November 2020 9:00 am

Emilia is a period piece about Emilia Bassano who may have been the ‘dark lady’ of Shakespeare’s sonnets. The writer,…

Edinburgh Festival is in ruins – but there's one gem amid the rubble

29 August 2020 9:00 am

The virus has broken Edinburgh. The shattered remnants of the festival are visible on the internet. Here’s what happened. The…

RSC’s Merchant of Venice is full of puzzling ornaments and accents

25 July 2020 9:00 am

The BBC announces Merchant of Venice as if it were a Hollywood blockbuster. ‘In the melting pot of Venice, trade…

Not even a genius could make Much Ado About Nothing funny

11 July 2020 9:00 am

The RSC’s 2014 version of Much Ado is breathtaking to look at. Sets, lighting and costumes are exquisitely done, even…

As a lyricist, Ian Dury had few equals in the 20th century

13 June 2020 9:00 am

The National Theatre’s programme of livestreamed shows continues with the Donmar’s 2014 production of Coriolanus starring Tom Hiddleston. The play…

So good and so raw that avoiding it might be the wisest course: Sea Wall reviewed

6 June 2020 9:00 am

Sea Wall, by Simon Stephens, is a half-hour monologue about grief performed by Andrew Scott. The YouTube clip has been…

The best Macbeths to watch online

23 May 2020 9:00 am

The world’s greatest playwright ought to be dynamite at the movies. But it’s notoriously hard to turn a profit from…

The National Theatre’s live-streaming policy is bizarre

16 May 2020 9:00 am

The National’s bizarre livestreaming service continues. On 7 May, for one week only, it released a modern-dress version of Antony…

The best theatre of the 21st century

25 April 2020 9:00 am

Not looking great, is it? Until we all get jabbed, theatres may have to stay closed. And even the optimists…

I've lost patience with podcasts and their presenters

24 April 2020 11:00 pm

‘To be recognised and accepted by a peregrine,’ wrote J.A. Baker in 1967, ‘you must wear the same clothes, travel…

His son’s death may have inspired some of Shakespeare’s greatest lines, but he never recovered from the loss

4 April 2020 9:00 am

Maggie O’Farrell is much possessed by death. Her first novel, After You’d Gone (2000), chronicled the inner life of a…

Michael Morpurgo: Kale smoothies, writing, Pilates – my strict isolation schedule

28 March 2020 9:00 am

Writers like me are used to long hours alone. I’ve never enjoyed that side of it. I don’t like the…

War and plague have menaced theatres before, but rarely on this scale

28 March 2020 9:00 am

War and plague have menaced theatres before, but rarely on this scale, says Lloyd Evans

Comedy gold: The Upstart Crow at the Gielgud Theatre reviewed

29 February 2020 9:00 am

A Moorish princess shipwrecked on the English coast disguises herself as a boy to protect her virtue. Arriving in London,…

People expecting punishment won’t be disappointed: Almeida’s Duchess of Malfi reviewed

18 January 2020 9:00 am

The Duchess of Malfi is one of those classics that everyone knows by name but not many have witnessed on…

All the world’s a stage: this election has echoes of Shakespeare and Dickens

14 December 2019 9:00 am

The Christmas election has unfolded like a series of mini-dramas from panto, Dickens and other popular classics. Boris has come…

‘The only place I can’t get my plays on is Britain’: Sir Peter Brook interviewed

2 November 2019 9:00 am

‘Everyone of us knows we deserve to be punished,’ says the frail old man before me in a hotel café.…

When did English A-level become a science?

24 August 2019 9:00 am

Now that my youngest has got her A-level grades, I’m finally free to say just how much I have loathed…

No pigs in sight: Anne Hathaway’s Cottage

The charm – and artifice – of the English cottage garden

20 July 2019 9:00 am

The confusion is understandable. You arrive at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon, keen to experience the quintessential cottage garden —…

Star-crossed lovers: Sweet Sorrow, by David Nicholls, reviewed

13 July 2019 9:00 am

The 16-year-old hero of David Nicholls’s fifth novel is ostensibly Everyboy. It is June 1997, the last day at dreary…

‘The Bibliophile’, by Johann Hamza (1850–1921)

From bibliomania to kleptomania: the serious crimes of book lovers

29 June 2019 9:00 am

In the spring of 1998, Rolling Stones fans in Germany were disappointed to hear that the band had been forced…

Sharon D. Clarke and Wendell Pierce in Death of a Salesman at the Young Vic Credit: © Brinkhoff Mogenburg

Willy Loman would have been fine if he’d worked in a laundry: Death of a Salesman reviewed

18 May 2019 9:00 am

Colour-blind casting is a denial of history. The Young Vic’s all-black version of Death of a Salesman asks us to…

Why were the Victorians so obsessed with the moon?

6 April 2019 9:00 am

In Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a group of slightly ramshackle workmen decide to put on a play. The play…

Dancer, choreographer, iconoclast: Merce Cunningham in 1962

A masterclass of menace and magnificence: Romeo and Juliet reviewed

6 April 2019 9:00 am

Two households, both alike in dignity. Capulets in red tights, Montagues in green. Kenneth MacMillan’s Romeo and Juliet opens in…