Power hour: Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, The Hermes Experiment at Tête à Tête

The Winter’s Tale is surely one of Shakespeare’s cruellest tragedies: Leontes’ mistaken, yet unshakeable jealousy destroys family bonds and friendships alike, culminating in blasphemy as he refuses to accept the Oracle of Apollo which exonerates his blameless wife. Even the eventual restoration of his wife and daughter, an earthly miracle achieved only by the courage…

Pass me my pitchfork: D.C. Moore’s Common, National Theatre

“You are blight and darkness and sin…” Lost village girl Mary comes home to her beloved Laura after a lifetime of sin in “that devil-town London”, but finds – well – that’s the problem. This play by DC Moore, part lesbian Catherine Cookson fantasy, part undead horror slasher, via a Wicker Man of the woods…

Love, pity, horror: Jack Thorne’s new Woyzeck at The Old Vic

Jack Thorne’s explosive new Woyzeck brings Büchner’s unfinished working class tragedy to Berlin in 1981, with our hero a British Army private, trying to adjust to life on the German border between capitalism and communism after a hideous stint in Belfast. Strapped for cash, patronised by those in authority, and frantic to shore up his…

Snog, Marry, Avoid: Romeo and Juliet, The Globe, SE1

  Daniel Kramer’s production of Romeo and Juliet for The Globe’s ‘Summer of Love’ season opens with a powerful visual image: two women in labour, wheeled onto the stage on gurneys, bring forth from their fatal loins a pair of tiny child-sized coffins, covered in roses. The visual lexicon of the Mexican Day of the…

Uncle Vanya, Chekhov, Almeida Theatre N1

Robert Icke’s new adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya is best summarised as an update – and an Anglicisation. Played in contemporary clothes, with sprinkled swearwords (so often touted as modern shorthand for “relevance”), Uncle Vanya is now ‘Uncle Johnny’, Professor Serebryakov is simply ‘Alexander’, Dr Astrov is ‘Michael’. So far, so emphatically un-Russian; which, given…

The Master Builder, Ibsen, The Old Vic SE1

The Master Builder, Halvard Solness, is universally acknowledged by his townsfolk as a lucky man: self-made and supremely successful in business, his good fortune is not due to skill or merit, but to a terrible accident many years ago, which also killed his twin sons and destroyed his marriage. However, it also gave him the…