Shakespeare

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…

Sneers and jeers over Lears

28 May 2016 9:00 am

In the 18th century, as Shakespeare began to take on classic status, editors began to notice differences between the texts…

‘His operas offer a straightforward experience’

Verdi’s works are more entertainment than art

21 May 2016 9:00 am

Verdi has a peculiar if not unique place in the pantheon of great composers. If you love classical music at…

A weird, druggy, space-age Bollywood mash-up: Emma Rice’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

What an extraordinary debut for Emma Rice: Globe's Midsummer Night's Dream reviewed

21 May 2016 9:00 am

The Globe’s new chatelaine, Emma Rice, has certainly shaken the old place up. It’s almost unrecognisable. Huge white plastic orbs…

James Delingpole is loving Ben Elton's new Shakespeare sitcom

14 May 2016 9:00 am

There’s no way of saying this without shredding the last vestiges of my critical credibility, but this new Ben Elton…

Florence's black Medici prince: a drama worthy of Shakespeare

7 May 2016 9:00 am

The life – and violent death – of a very unusual Renaissance prince has Alex von Tunzelmann enthralled

The dirty jokes that tell us how Shakespeare spoke

7 May 2016 9:00 am

Sir John Harington told a story in 1596 about a lady at court asking her gentlewoman to inquire which Mr…

How the BBC made the most unlikely TV hit of the swinging Sixties

30 April 2016 9:00 am

‘Comedy is like music,’ said Edwin Apps, one of the characters in Wednesday afternoon’s Radio 4 play, All Mouth and…

Going Dutch: Eelco Smits and Janni Goslinga of Toneelgroep Amsterdam in ‘Kings of War’

This year's must-see Shakespeare? Four hours of history in Dutch

23 April 2016 9:00 am

James Woodall talks to the Belgian director Ivo van Hove, who has brought a swathe of Shakespeare’s history plays to the stage in Dutch (four hours of it)

Was there a cover-up over Shakespeare’s death?

23 April 2016 9:00 am

How did Shakespeare kick the bucket? Lloyd Evans considers the evidence

The Heckler: the Shakespeare anniversary has stripped the Bard of his beauty

23 April 2016 9:00 am

The feeding frenzy over the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death has reached its peak. Recently we’ve had Shakespeare’s complete…

‘Macbeth, Banquo and Witches on the Heath’, 1794, by Henry Fuseli

Why do some museums insist on playing piped music into exhibitions?

9 April 2016 9:00 am

There was a genteel brouhaha last year — leaders in the Times, letters to the Telegraph, tutting in the galleries…

In 1600 Muhammad al-Annuri arrived in England, as the Moroccan ambassador, to propose an Anglo-Moroccan alliance. Shakespeare probably started writing Othello six months later

Gloriana and the Sultan — England’s unlikely alliance

2 April 2016 9:00 am

The idea for a mechanical cock was never going to work. In 1595 the English ambassador to Constantinople, Edward Barton,…

I felt the earth move just as before: Akram Khan’s Kaash reviewed

19 March 2016 9:00 am

You revisit an old love with wariness. Time’s passed for both of you — sharp edges have been smoothed, and…

Act of faith: Sybil Thorndike as Saint Joan, c.1924, in George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Saint Joan’

Why does drama always end up sneering at religion?

5 March 2016 9:00 am

 Theo Hobson explores the enduring appeal that religion has for dramatists

Now that's what I call sex: Birmingham Royal Ballet's Ashton Double Bill reviewed

5 March 2016 9:00 am

That joke about the young bull who tells the old bull, ‘Hey, Dad, see all those cows — let’s run…

Sarah Snook as Hilde Wangel and Ralph Fiennes as Halvard Solness in ‘The Master Builder’

A great, weird play to rival Shakespeare: Old Vic's The Master Builder reviewed

13 February 2016 9:00 am

The Master Builder, if done properly, can be one of those theatrical experiences that make you wonder if the Greeks…

Author Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson's Shylock is full of mercy and compassion

30 January 2016 9:00 am

Howard Jacobson’s novelistic riff on The Merchant of Venice for the Hogarth Shakespeare project turns, unsurprisingly, on what makes some…