Hamlet: “the Devil made them do it” version

Ten years ago, my flatmates and I had an ongoing conversation about doing a horror production of Hamlet where the Ghost really was a devil. In Act Two, Hamlet wonders if the Ghost is an evil spirit preying on his depression:

The spirit that I have seen
May be a devil: and the devil hath power
To assume a pleasing shape: yea, and perhaps
Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
As he is very potent with such spirits,
Abuses me to damn me.

and we thought it could be fun to see what would happen if he was right to wonder that.

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All the theatre I saw in 2016, ranked

(nb: most of this was written on the train on New Year’s Eve, so “last night” = Dec 30th.)

In 2016 I saw 41 plays (and three staged readings, which were interesting but it feels unfair to put in with the rest because they’re not supposed to be fully realised pieces of theatre). Drunk Theatre stalwart Louisa and I tried to clear out the bottle-ends in the booze cabinet before the New Year, and carried out the immense task of force-ranking all our 2016 plays with Post-It notes. (for the record if you are also looking to clear out your drinks bottles, the “Monkey Gland”, a 1920s? cocktail involving grenadine and absinthe, was surprisingly all right.)

Bottom to top:

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Hamlet at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester

Hamlet Maxine Peake poster

Making friends in the day-ticket queue is such an excellent way to start a morning.

My friend Meg and I were in Manchester on Saturday, and decided to try for tickets to Maxine Peake playing Hamlet. We got to the Royal Exchange Theatre a little after 8am, where there were about 30 people in the queue for 34 pairs of tickets. The next people to join were a nurse who’d just come off the midnight shift, and a local man who comes to all the shows with his wife and queues so she doesn’t have to (we should all have such loved ones).

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Drunk Theatre: “Hamlet” by Hiraeth Productions, Riverside Studios

hamlet hiraeth ft

I went to see Hiraeth ProductionsHamlet thanks to what is unquestionably the best email I have ever gotten, which began, “Hi Kerry, We at Hiraeth Artistic Productions loved your drunk review of our Richard III so much that we wanted to invite you along to review our next production”.

LIFE SUCCESS, GUYS! Truly I have forged an excellent future for myself in this important line of drunk arts criticism and it’s all G&Ts and midweek press nights from here on out: life sorted! Now however I went to the show in early June and it closed in late June, and if you’ve spotted the flaw in the fact that this post is going up at the end of July then congratulations you and well done on self-sabotaging your glorious would-have-been future me, and I deeply apologise to Tabitha, Hiraeth’s very kind press officer.

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Interview with “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars” author Ian Doescher

I'll be reviewing "William Shakespeare's Star Wars", the Shakespearean version of the first Star Wars movie by Ian Doescher, properly next week. In the meantime, Doescher has a lot of interesting things to say about the book and Shakespeare, including his favourite (and least favourite) Shakespeare plays; going to see Branagh's Much Ado with his mom; discussing motivation with Lucasfilm's Darth Vader Characterisation Specialist (DVCS for short); and his dream cast for the Broadway production.

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Globe to Globe: Hamlet in Lithuanian (Lithuania)

So it turns out I don’t really get on with Eastern European theatre. This is a shame, because it’s  The Next Big Thing in London theatre apparently (as everyone who saw Three Kingdoms will tell you) and I’m sure it’s very exciting if you are into it, but it gets a big old ‘meh’ from me, which is unfortunate because I am SO INTO weird pretentious experimental theatre in theory, I just find it a bit difficult in practice.

This may be the result of a module I took as a drama studies major, where a European artist collective led us in a “devised theatre practice” in which I pretended to hang myself with a keyboard cord to Daft Punk  and a classmate dropped trou and mimed sexual intercourse with a watermelon, which we then smashed on the stage and consumed while I played an Irish polka on the fiddle. (For the record, I received a first-class mark in the module.)

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