Tom Hiddleston Caius Martius Coriolanus and Hadley Fraser Aufidius Photo by Johan Persson

RETURN OF DRUNK THEATRE: Celebrities Do Gay Shakespeare! FEATURING David Tennant’s Richard II and Tom Hiddleston’s Coriolanus

Louisa was in town this week, my longtime drinking-and-theatre buddy who initiated Drunk Theatre Week with me at the National’s Edward II. Clearly the only thing to do was continue with our theme of Gay Renaissance Theatre, so on Monday we saw David Tennant’s hair-extensioned Richard II at the Barbican (RSC) and on Wednesday Tom Hiddleston’s beefy topless-showering Coriolanus at the Donmar.

Richard II

(Photo: Alastair Muir)
Photo: Alastair Muir

 

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shitfacedshakespeare1

I’m a bit drunk, here’s my favourite character from every Shakespeare play in chronological order

What it says in the headline.

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“Othello”, National Theatre (Adrian Lester/dir. Nicholas Hytner)

My first draft of a post about the National Theatre's 'Othello' just read "ADRIAN LESTER" with big doodly hearts around it, so I apologise if this second try goes off the rails later. The play was REALLY GOOD.

Photo by Dmitri Matvejev

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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Photo (c) Ellie Kurttz

Globe to Globe: Romeo and Juliet in Portuguese (Brazil)

Grupo Galpão’s production was Romeo and Juliet: The Comic Opera. The company did much more singing than speaking, and Juliet (Fernanda Vianna) was a ballerina while Romeo (Eduardo Moreira) teetered on stilts. When I walked in I was extremely pleased to see they were running it without an interval, which implied both a quick running time and a tight production.


Photo (c) Ellie Kurttz

Photo (c) Simon Kane

Globe to Globe: King Lear in Belarusian (Belarus)

“That was certainly the shortest Lear I’ve ever seen,” I overheard a patron say as I left the theatre on Friday. It was, and it was brilliant. All Lears should clock in at 80min (1hr35min with interval).

Most of the cuts were around Lear, the Fool and Kent. The highlights were still there, but not the endless moaning on the heath. The storm scene was extremely effective: a blue tarp stretched on stage, held at the edges by the cast, who vigorously shook it to create a tempestous space for Lear to wander in; halfway through, someone dumped a bucket of water into it, which bounced off the tarp for the rest of the scene, splashing Lear again and again, genuinely disorienting him and soaking him through. The Fool played piano and wore very enviable yellow wellies.

King Lear in the storm, The Belarus Free Theatre Read more...