Paper Cinema’s Macbeth, Battersea Arts Centre

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By Laura Kressly

I’m a sucker for inventive adaptations of Shakespeare plays, so Paper Cinema’s Macbeth, a live-action, silent movie version, is hugely appealing. For 90 minutes a team of five use handheld cameras, desk lamps and hand-drawn illustrations to broadcast the story in visual form onto a large screen. Accompanied by a Celtic-inspired, cinematic score, this graphic novel/stop motion/object manipulation telling is enchanting – until I ask my companion, a Dutch woman who doesn’t know Macbeth, what she thought. 

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NetherBard, TheatreN16

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by Amy Toledano

In a man’s world, Budding Rose Productions is creating space where women take the lead, playing the kings, the warriors, and fools. And while our four actresses bring guts to this unique show, the potential for a feminist, Shakespearean world isn’t completely met. The characters feel quite 2D and a desperate need of fleshing out is in order to deliver such a powerful message.

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Love’s Labour’s Lost, Shakespeare’s Globe

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by Amy Toledano

Never doing anything by half, Shakespeare’s Globe’s latest rendition of Love’s Labour’s Lost pulls out all the stops with a stellar cast, bringing laughter and joy until the play’s final solemn moments. Directed by Nick Bagnall, this highly energised show is a lovely version of a Shakespeare infrequently staged play, and brings with it a message of true and pure love – and the things we are willing to surrender for them.

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About Lady White Fox With Nine Tales, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Shakespeare’s work is very much of his time and place, with his universality much more embedded in Western culture. Seeing a Korean company stake a claim on Macbeth and intersperse the story with its own cultural myths and legends is a potent reminder of the relevance of his stories and themes, and provides a unique filter for Western audiences to take in his work. There are plenty of issues with this physical theatre piece, but its use of the text as a starting point for a different story is a hugely refreshing take.

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Hamlet (an experience), Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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By Laura Kressly

Shakespeare’s audiences were likely to be much more engaged with theatre performances than they are today. Emily Carding far surpasses any Elizabethan or Jacobean audience participation, however. This pared down version of Hamlet by the solo artist requires about half a dozen willing audience members to take on some of the key characters in Shakespeare’s play. The rest of the audience don’t just sit and watch, either – this is a collaborate effort.

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Shit-Faced Shakespeare: Hamlet, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by guest critic and photographer Esther Moorton

To see or not to see? That is the question.

But this is a hilarious take on Shakespeare’s famous Hamlet, but not as you or I know it.

In these long-running, established shows, one of the main actors is plied with alcohol pre-performance and throughout the show audience members have the authority to request more drinks for the actor.

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