Top Five: Summer Shakespeares
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING
»»» CLICK HERE TO BOOK TICKETS TO MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING IN THE WEST END
»»» DON'T MISS OUR WHATSONSTAGE.COM OUTING TO MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING AT SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE ON 31 AUGUST 2011 - CLICK HERE TO BOOK THIS OUTING
Like Eve Best, Kevin Spacey (right) has got the bard bug this summer. He is reunited with director Sam Mendes, for the first time since the 1999 film American Beauty, which won them both Oscars, to take the title role in Richard III at the Old Vic (18 June-11 September). Others in the transatlantic cast of the final offering in Mendes' three-year Bridge Project include Britons Annabel Scholey, Gemma Jones, Haydn Gwynne and Chuk Iwuji and Broadway’s Maureen Anderman and Chandler Williams. Meanwhile, Edward Hall (son of Sir Peter) tours his all-male Shakespeare ensemble offering of Richard III to Hampstead Theatre, where he's artistic director, running in rep with his cross-cast production of The Comey of Errors (22 June-9 July). Propeller regular Richard Clothier wears the crown.
How many Hamlets is too many? Move over David Tennant and Jude Law for the new kids on the block. Or not so new. This week is your last chance to catch Rory Kinnear's award-winning performance in Nicholas Hytner's National Theatre production (right), which has returned to London for ten performances only in the NT Lyttelton (until 23 April), though we hear it may be revived in 2012. As one Hamlet ends another begins further along the South Bank, as rising star Joshua McGuire tackles the role for Dominic Dromgoole at Shakespeare's Globe (23 April-9 July, then touring). Meanwhile, Northern Broadsides' take, starring Nicholas Shaw and directed by Conrad Nelson, is at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds the rest of this month, before touring to Belfast, Isle of Man and the Rose, Kingston (19-21 May). And, for making comedy out of tragedy, there's also the hysterically fun Hamlet! The Musical, with carrot-topped Jack Shalloo as the Great Dane. An award-winning hit at Edinburgh 2010, it's at Northampton's Royal & Derngate (6-21 May) and Richmond Theatre (24-28 May) ahead of a planned West End transfer.
HENRY IV, PARTS 1 & 2
Theatre Royal Bath
Also rans & further ahead
You also have two chances to As You Like It this summer: Greg Hersov's production at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (29 June-6 August) and James Dacre's small-scale tour for Shakespeare's Globe. Other summer highlights include: at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon, The Merchant of Venice (13 May-4 October), reuniting actor Patrick Stewart (as Shylock) and director Rupert Goold for the first time since their multi award-winning Macbeth (right) stormed Chichester, the West End and Broadway, and A Midsummer Night's Dream (29 July-5 November), helmed by Nancy Meckler; at the Globe, Janie Dee playing the Countess de Roussillon in All's Well That Ends Well (27 April-7 August), directed by John Dove; at the Open Air, Regent's Park, a new kids' version of Pericles for under-6s; and, also for small ones, Edward Hall's Pocket Comedy, a 60-minute version of The Comedy of Errors from his Propeller company, at the E4 Udderbelly at Southbank Centre (30 April-14 May).
And the Shakespeare fun won't end when the nights start to draw in. In the autumn, there's yet-another high-profile Hamlet, this time Michael Sheen at the Young Vic from October, while Tim Pigott-Smith gives us his King Lear at Leeds' West Yorkshire Playhouse. And the RSC's 50th birthday year continues with a winter programme that includes new productions of Measure for Measure and The Taming of the Shrew.
»»» DON'T MISS OUR WHATSONSTAGE.COM OUTING TO ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL AT SHAKESPEARE'S GLOBE ON 22 JUNE 2011 - CLICK HERE TO BOOK THIS OUTING