Shakespeare

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…

Shakespeare on the beach: Oh I Do Like to Be…, by Marie Phillips, reviewed

9 February 2019 9:00 am

The phrase ‘Shakespeare comedy’ is an oxymoron with a long pedigree, one which perhaps stretches back to the late 16th…

Pro-Trump propaganda at the Donmar Warehouse by Lynn Nottage. Photo: Johan Persson

A masterpiece of pro-Trump propaganda: Sweat at the Donmar Warehouse reviewed

12 January 2019 9:00 am

Sweat, set in the Pennsylvanian rust belt, looks at a blue-collar community threatened by a factory closure. The script uses…

Astonishingly powerful: Michelle Terry as Lady Macbeth and Paul Ready as Macbeth

One of the finest productions I’ve seen at the Globe – a triumph of crony casting: Macbeth reviewed

24 November 2018 9:00 am

Michelle Terry, chatelaine of the Globe, wants to put an end to penis-led Shakespeare by casting women in roles intended…

Sian Brooke and Alex Hassell in 'I'm Not Running'. Photo: Mark Douet

Women should boycott David Hare’s slanderous new play: I’m Not Running reviewed

20 October 2018 9:00 am

Sir David Hare’s weird new play sets out to chronicle the history of the Labour movement from 1996 to the…

Sophie Okonedo exudes sexiness and regality as Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra at the Olivier Theatre

After 1980 Pinter began to write like a student troll: Pinter at the Pinter reviewed

6 October 2018 9:00 am

The drop-curtain resembles a granite slab on which the genius’s name has been carved for all time. The festival of…

Impeccably – and intriguingly – unclear: BBC1’s The Cry reviewed

6 October 2018 9:00 am

It’s a radical thought I know, but I sometimes wonder what it would be like if a new TV thriller…

Star quality: Mark Rylance as Iago at Shakespeare’s Globe

The gentle side of Bruckner: Rotterdam Philharmonic’s Prom reviewed

8 September 2018 9:00 am

It’s intelligent, enjoyable, beautiful to look at and funny in unexpected places, yet Othello at the Globe didn’t quite meet…

If we offer Ian McKellan a peerage, will he promise not to inflict his King Lear on us again?

4 August 2018 9:00 am

Gandalf, also known as Ian McKellen, has awarded himself another lap of honour by bringing King Lear back to London.…

Contains at least 15 laugh-out-loud moments: Genesis Inc. reviewed

7 July 2018 9:00 am

Listen to the crowd. I often delay passing judgment on a show until the audience delivers its verdict. This is…

Antony Sher: self-portrait as King Lear

Sher genius: Antony Sher’s account of playing King Lear

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Why are rehearsal diaries so compelling? One approaches them with cynicism and then ends up reading with racing heart through…

The terrific cast of BBC2's King Lear (BBC/Playground Entertainment/Ed Miller)

Understated and heartbreaking: BBC2’s King Lear reviewed

2 June 2018 9:00 am

I recently came across a theory of the American poet Delmore Schwartz’s that Hamlet only makes sense if you assume…

Michelle Terry as Hamlet and Catrin Aaron as Horatio at Shakespeare's Globe. (Photo: Tristram Kenton)

No one but Michelle Terry would have hired Michelle Terry to play Hamlet

2 June 2018 9:00 am

Regime change at the Globe. The new boss, Michelle Terry, wants a 50/50 ratio of males to females in each…

Can fiction really cure cancer?

14 April 2018 9:00 am

If you write a book, even a novel, about Shakespeare you must at least consider the theory that Will of…

Give me Shakespeare’s Macbeth over Jo Nesbo’s any day

14 April 2018 9:00 am

It must have seemed a good idea to someone: commissioning a range of well-known novelists to ‘reimagine Shakespeare’s plays for…

David Calder as Caesar in Nicholas Hytner’s Julius Caesar

Bold, in its way, but Ben Whishaw is ill-suited to Shakespeare: Julius Caesar reviewed

10 February 2018 9:00 am

Nicholas Hytner’s new show is a modern-dress Julius Caesar, heavily cut and played in the round. It runs for two…

Togas, sandals, breastplates, ketchup and daggers, not guns: Julius Caesar at the Barbican

It’s impossible to muff the role of Scrooge – yet Rhys Ifans manages: A Christmas Carol reviewed

9 December 2017 9:00 am

Maximum Victoriana at the Old Vic for Matthew Warchus’s A Christmas Carol. Even before we reach our seats we’re accosted…

The best kind of poem: England on two wheels

The English countryside on two wheels is like the best kind of poem

25 November 2017 9:00 am

No seat belts. No airbags. Just air, and coming at you as fast as you like. Motorcycling shouldn’t be allowed,…

The Spectator’s notes

23 September 2017 9:00 am

Sir David Norgrove, the chairman of the UK Statistics Authority (UKSA), is an honourable man. When he publicly rebuked Boris…

Worse for wear: Kevin McNally as Lear and Burt Caesar as Gloucester in King Lear

Keeping it in the family

9 September 2017 9:00 am

A new orthodoxy governs the casting process in Hollywood. An actor’s ethnicity must match the character’s. If you extend this…

Ira Aldridge as Othello, painted in 1826 by James Northcote

Moor and more

31 August 2017 1:00 pm

In 1824 an ambitious teenage actor fled to England from his native New York where he had been beaten up…

A bad taste in the mouth

19 August 2017 9:00 am

Here is the opening sentence of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s meditation on beds.: With its four legs and its flat, soft…

Pat and Richard Nixon in ENO’s 2006 production of John Adams’s Nixon in China

Whatever happened to Alice?

19 August 2017 9:00 am

In 1987, the art of opera changed decisively. John Adams’s opera Nixon in China was so unlike the usual run…

BBC1’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream seems deliberately designed to flush out purists

4 June 2016 9:00 am

Spoiler alerts aren’t normally required for reviews of Shakespeare — but perhaps I’d better issue one before saying that in…