…Doth Indeed Show some Sparks of Wit…

What: Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

Where: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Who: The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)

When: Viewed week of 14th February to 18th of February (runs until 12th March 2022)

Attempts to evoke some sparks of negativity around the principles of the RSC’s productions do become a little tired. The artistic director of this production spoke of a “racist backlash” to the casting of this play. I cannot speak to this directly but having spoken to various audience members, over the days that I attended the show, nobody seemed to be particularly concerned about the casting although some did have other axes to grind.

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Better a Witty Fool, Than a Foolish Wit

What: Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

Where: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Who: Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)

When: 9th November 2017

Who is the central character in William Shakespeare‘s Twelfth Night? In modern times it is very evident that Malvolio is regarded in this way. I’m not so sure that this should be seen as the case. The Malvolio story is one of a number of sub-plots in the story. In truth, I don’t think there is a central character. More than any other Shakespeare play it is an ensemble piece and it is at its best when three or four of the cast are on the stage together and playing off each other.

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A Strange Fish!

Holy Gonzalo (Act V Scene 1), Batman! The RSC may have a hit on their hands.

What: The Tempest by William Shakespeare

Where: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon

Who: The Royal Shakespeare Company

When: 24th November 2016

This production of the Tempest attempts to break new boundaries in theatre-making with the very first use of “live motion capture” in a major stage production … and it succeeds… just…

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It wearies me; you say it wearies you

What: The Merchant of Venice

Where: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon

When: 21st May 2015

A writer in the UK newspaper “The Telegraph” pointed out how far short of the production at the Globe in London, the current RSC version of “The Merchant of Venice” falls. It is indeed unusual for two parallel productions to be running like this. It is, if you will, a surfeit of Merchants.

I cover only the RSC’s productions so I do not have the benefit or disadvantage of comparison. I, therefore, can only point out how the RSC’s production fails on its own merits. The audience were enthusiastic. The cast were spirited but bad directorial and staging decisions doomed it from the start.

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