What can you do with Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, a play full of murder, mutilation, and rape, culminating in a mother eating a pie filled with her sons’ ground-up body parts? For centuries it was dismissed as the early aberration of a genius, a sop to the bloodthirst of Elizabethan audiences ...... (read more)
There is much conjecture around the concept of Shakespeare’s ‘problem plays’; critics disagree not only on the strict meaning of the term – F.S. Boas saw them as works that used a protagonist’s dramatic situation to illustrate a social problem, while Ernest Schanzer insists they turn on an ethical dilemma ...... (read more)
At first glance, Molière’s The Miser, or L’Avare in the original French as first performed in 1668, contains the seeds of drama. Harpagon, an avaricious father, unceasingly heartless towards his grown son and daughter, and paranoid they will steal his beloved fortune, sounds like the stuff of tragedy ...... (read more)
Whatever else Peter Evans's production of Othello has going for it, and it has indeed much, the speaking of Shakespeare's verse is outstanding. It is never declamatory, in the way that some famous actors of earlier decades dealt with it. The verse emerges entirely intact, but is always made to ...... (read more)
Everything, it seems, depends on Juliet: for nothing can be ill, if she be well cast. And if she not be well cast? The question is an idle one, because in Kelly Paterniti we have an excellent Juliet. She is vibrant and original. Whatever faults this new Bell Shakespeare production may have, in her ...... (read more)
Hamlet belongs to the final years of Elizabeth’s reign, when the system of espionage the old queen had created through her spymaster-general, Francis Walsingham – the network of ‘watchers’, as Stephen Alford calls them in a recent brilliant study of this phenomenon – had become ...