As You Like It & Hamlet, Shakespeare’s Globe

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It would be so much fun to be part of Michelle Terry’s ensemble cast that performs both Hamlet and As You Like It to open this year’s season and her tenure as artistic director. They’re having a great time in what are something of a return to the Rylance era of the actor-manager, but uneven pacing and a smattering of interesting but disconnected choices lead to a lack of cohesion that indicates a lack directorial voice.

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Disco Pigs, Irish Rep

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by guest critic Steven Strauss

So there used to be this movie theater in New York City that always made me laugh by insisting on including subtitles over movies IN ENGLISH, albeit those with heavy accents. Let’s just say that this multiplex’s average clientele was of a certain age, and their diminished hearing required some help in understanding strong dialects of any kind from every corner of the world.

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Pericles Prince de Tyr, Barbican

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by Laura Kressly

Flawless royal blue walls reminiscent of the sea surround an unresponsive, middle aged man lying in a hospital bed. Nurses and a doctor flit in an out, efficiently checking vitals and holding quick, whispered conversations with waiting family. This is Pericles, physically and mentally buffeted by a life of grief and tragedy, but this is not quite the story of Pericles that Shakespeare and Wilkins co-wrote. Translated into French and then adapted, Cheek by Jowl here present a man in poor physical and mental health trapped inside his head, in a world composed either of memories or the figments of his imagination.

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Will, Rose Playhouse

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by Laura Kressly

Fan fiction has probably been around for as long as celebrity culture has existed, with the internet playing a pivotal role in its dissemination. But sharing her love of Shakespeare online isn’t enough for playwright Victoria Baumgartner, who brings her unbridled devotion to Shakespeare to the stage. This speculative, queer narrative presents Shakespeare’s ‘lost years’, between 1585 and 1592, with an earnest devotion that appeals to Shakespeare fans but lacks finesse and depth.

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Foul Pages, Hope Theatre

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by Laura Kressly

1603. Queen Elizabeth is dead, and James I is in power. Sir Walter Raleigh is imprisoned in the Tower for conspiring against the new king. His lover Mary pines for him in her stately home in Wiltshire, so she and her handmaid plot to secure the king’s favour by putting on a new play just for him, by Shakespeare’s company of players.

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Othello, Unicorn Theatre

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by guest critic Hailey Bachrach

Ignace Cornelissen’s Henry the Fifth, which was at the Unicorn Theatre in 2015, remains one of my favourite versions of that play ever. Setting King Henry’s French wars in a sandbox, Cornelissen simplified without dumbing-down the central themes of Shakespeare’s play.

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