Layout Image

Archive for William Shakespeare

ALL IS TRUE, or HENRY VIII by The Porters of Hellsgate

Sean Faye and Dawn Alden. Photo by Lucia Towers.

Sean Faye and Dawn Alden. Photo by Lucia Towers.

Steven Leigh Morris – Stage Raw

Confession: In all my years of reviewing theater, this is the first production I’ve ever seen of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII originally titled All is True, co-written (somebody thinks, who knows?) with Shakespeare’s peer, John Fletcher. It’s the last history play penned or co-penned by the Bard, and it’s a bit of a mess, structurally, which is likely the reason it’s staged so rarely.

The play contrasts reckless and relentless ambition with the brand of conscience that embodies compassion. In this it echoes the same themes lodged within Macbeth, Measure for Measure, Richard III, Henry V and As You Like It. Read more…

Through December 5

THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR at Theatricum Botanicum

Seth Weaver, A.M. Sannazzaro, and Melora Marshall. Photo by Ian Flanders

Seth Weaver, A.M. Sannazzaro, and Melora Marshall. Photo by Ian Flanders

Katie Buenneke – Stage Raw

Centuries before there was a Marvel Cinematic Universe, William Shakespeare introduced a Falstaff Theatrical Universe with The Merry Wives of Windsor, a comedy that follows the foibles of Falstaff, the much disparaged knight who appears in Henry IV parts 1 and 2 (L.A. audiences may have seen him last portrayed by Tom Hanks in an abridged version of both Henry IVs in the Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles staged in summer 2018). Read more…

Now through Oct 2

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at Open Fist Theatre Company

Monazia Smith. Photo by Frank Ishman

Monazia Smith. Photo by Frank Ishman

Harker Jones – BroadwayWorld

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, originating in the 1500s and one of William Shakespeare’s most beloved and produced plays, has been adapted in countless ways over the past few centuries, including as films, musicals, ballets, operas, an animated Disney short, and even a disco-oriented off-Broadway takeoff called The Donkey Show, while having an impact felt in everything from The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Dead Poets Society, and Woody Allen (A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy). Following all that, it is given a fresh spin by the Open Fist Theatre Company, changing the setting from Athens, Greece, to Athens, Georgia, in the antebellum South to mixed results. Leaving the original text intact, the comedy takes place on a plantation and focuses on both the wealthy family living there as well as their slaves, who are tasked with putting on a show for the gentry’s amusement. Hilarity ensues with magic, fairies, and shapeshifting. Read more…

Now through August 13

KING LEAR at The Wallis

Photo by Jason Williams

Photo by Jason Williams

Steven Leigh Morris – Stage Raw

Shakespeare’s play gets a Wooster Group-ish makeover in John Gould Rubin’s modern dress staging for the Wallis. Tech is omnipresent, almost omniscient. Narrow, vertical panels on both sides of the stage provide screens for Keith Skretch’s projection design, featuring striking images of fires and floods now generally associated with climate change. Read more…

Tracey Paleo – Gia On The Move

After three years of preparation, The Wallis somehow made the decision to greenlight a befuddling presentation of one of Shakespeare’s most powerful plays and its chief character in the process.  The result is detritus. Read more…

Now through June 3

Julius Caesar, The New American Theatre at McCadden Place Theatre

Photo by Jack Stehlin.

 

Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare.

 

Dany Margolies – ArtsInLA.com

Apparently this Shakespeare play doesn’t need to be performed on the steps of a real-life city hall to impress. Here, a chamber version captures the story’s expanse while feeling immediate, near, and unfortunately modern. Add in the casting of women in traditionally male roles, modern-day business attire, and non-declamatory performances, and the production plays like an Aaron Sorkin series. Read more…