Reviews

Is Not This Man Jealous?

STRATFORD, ON—The play bears Othello’s (Michael Blake) name, but the tragedy really belongs to Iago (Gordon S. Miller), who has seven soliloquies to Othello’s two. This nihilistic, black hole of a character falls on the far end of Shakespeare’s conception of evil, a natural endpoint after Aaron the Moor and Richard III. No production can […]

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Reviews

Doesn’t Mean Anything, It’s Just Happening

Late in Ink, Larry Lamb (Jonny Lee Miller), the editor of the Sun, asks his boss, “What does Rupert Murdoch want?”  Murdoch (Bertie Carvel) demurs, talking instead about his love of hotels: “You can check in, turn it over, spill a glass of wine, take a shit in the toilet, fuck in the bed, make a mess […]

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Reviews

Richard Lieben Richard

I thought I had seen my zaniest Richard III in Mark Rylance, and before that in Kevin Spacey.  But compared to Lars Eidinger, these performances feel like those of mildly rambunctious children.  Mr. Eidinger abandons all pretense that Richard is an adult—or even a human being—and before the night is over, he has sat naked […]

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Reviews

Is This the Government of Britain’s Isle?

CHICAGO—Barbara Gaines concludes her marathon production of Shakespeare’s War of the Roses with Tug of War: Civil Strife, and this time, the tug comes not from without but from within.  The initially stable if timid reign of Henry VI (Steven Sutcliffe) faces a challenge from the House of York, but York is a house divided, and as soon as the […]

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Reviews

French Quarrels Enough

CHICAGO—Anniversaries are wonderful excuses for obscure or ambitious productions, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater combines both four hundred years after Shakespeare’s death in Tug of War: Foreign Fire, the first half of a marathon revival that includes Edward III, Henry V, Henry VI Parts 1, 2, and 3, and Richard III.  The main draws here are Edward III, which was likely co-written by Thomas Kyd […]

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Reviews

The Scourge of God

What are we to make of Marlowe’s Tamburlaine (John Douglas Thompson), the Scythian shepherd-turned-emperor who spends most of this two-part play committing mass murder without any hint of guilt or self-doubt?  He resembles later theatrical incarnations of political evil, like Shakespeare’s Richard III and Macbeth, but no ghosts of victims come back to haunt him, no authorial […]

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Reviews

Evoking Shakespeare

To start with, the prelude.  The actors, consistent with Shakespearean practices, get into their costumes on stage thirty minutes before curtain.  Mark Rylance, whose genius I will never understand, alternates between chatting with audience members who sit onstage, performing vocal exercises, and staring, eyes dilated, at some unremarkable point on the floor: at these moments, […]

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