Shakespeare

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…

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…