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Bell Shakespeare

Twelfth Night 

Bell Shakespeare
by
27 October 2023

Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is a perennial favourite on the Shakespeare calendar (pun intended). The twelfth night of Christmas celebrations was the olden-day version of New Year’s Eve, not because it was the last day of the year but because it was the last day of festivities, with everything returning to normal after the hangover. As such, it was celebrated as a topsy-turvy night where homeowners would play servant to their servants and bring them gifts, with much frivolity and goodwill – a bit like the boss getting pissed at the staff party.

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Romeo and Juliet 

Bell Shakespeare
by
03 July 2023

Bell Shakespeare’s latest production of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (directed by Peter Evans) is punctuated by stand-out performances: Lucy Bell, as the Nurse to Juliet, steals the show early, with her accounts of Juliet’s birth and growing up; she lends warmth and a sense of time and place that allows this loving and loveable character to shine...

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Macbeth 

Bell Shakespeare
by
03 March 2023
There is a moment often conveyed in romantic films (and it was certainly the case with Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet) when fresh eyes meet across a crowded room and become fixated, unable to stop ‘looking’, searching for more and more of the alchemical fire that triggered an intense magnetism. ... (read more)

The Comedy of Errors 

by
18 July 2022

One thing is certain: Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors is flat out hilarious, and if it isn’t funny enough on stage, it’s the fault of the production. His only farce, it is often thought to be an early work, but it is surely far too assured to be written before 1594. It’s entirely free of the striving Marlovian rhetoric that hampers the Henry VI plays (commenced in 1591), and it is cleaner, cleverer, and more convincing than The Taming of the Shrew (probably before 1592). It is based on Plautus’s Menaechmi ...

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Hamlet 

by
13 May 2022

Back in 1991, Bell Shakespeare opened their very first season with Hamlet, starring John Polson and directed by John Bell himself; it deliberately highlighted the Australian vernacular, almost over-emphasising the flat vowel sounds and local cadences over the fruitier delivery we inherited from the British. It had a gritty contemporary setting, and garishly over-the-top costumes. It also wasn’t very good.

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Titus Andronicus 

Bell Shakespeare
by
02 September 2019

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 ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Julius Caesar, first performed in 1599, dates from the period when Shakespeare was leading up to Hamlet, and its central figure Brutus, the conscientious assassin, is a bit of a rough draft for the introspective side of the Prince of Denmark, whereas Richard II, four years earlier ...

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Antony and Cleopatra (first performed circa 1607) is one of Shakespeare’s most poetic plays, full of imagery of exotic Egypt with its crocodiles and serpents, its River Nile and, of course, Enobarbus’s extravagant speech describing Antony’s first sighting of its queen: ‘The barge she sat in, like a burnished throne/ Burned on ...

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