The brilliantly inventive title card used to introduce The Show Must Go Online’s performance of William Shakespeare’s Star Wars (Image credit: Emily Ingram/The Show Must Go Online)

The Show Must Go Online (TSMGO) has been one of the most notable successes of Lockdown Shakespeare and a pre-eminent example of what Gemma and Ben recently defined as the second model of the form: Live Online Performances. It was founded, in the early days of theatre made for a lockdown audience, by Rob Myles, a multi-talented actor, director and writer, who is also responsible for the educational toolkit The Shakespeare Deck and its practical equivalent Cracking the Shakespeare Code. …


Devon Glover is a Brooklyn-based rapper who produces hip-hop adaptations of Shakespeare’s sonnets for performance and workshops as ‘The Sonnet Man’. He has recently concluded a tour of the UK, delivering pedagogic sessions for schools and participating in activities with organisations such as the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Although based in the United States, Glover has visited the UK frequently over the last few years and completed a three-and-half hour sonnet marathon as part of the Stratford Literary Festival in 2016. You can hear more about his recent adventures on the Reduced Shakespeare Company Podcast:

I first met Glover in 2014…


Reece Shearsmith (William Shakespeare), Michael Sheen (Aziraphale) and David Tennant (Crowley) in Good Omens (Image Copyright: Amazon Studios / BBC Studios, 2019).

Last week, after its initial distribution on Amazon Prime in 2019, the first episode of Good Omens aired on BBC Two. The television series, penned by fantasy writer Neil Gaiman, is a six-part adaptation of Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s co-authored fantasy novel Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (1990). It drew particular attention and fan anticipation when announced thanks to the casting of two of Britain’s most likeable and versatile actors in the lead roles as the odd-couple Aziraphale, an angel, and Crowley, a demon: Michael Sheen and David Tennant.

Not only have each appeared…


*This article contains plot spoilers for Rian Johnson’s The Last Jedi and Knives Out.*

‘A foul and pestilent congregation of vapours’: The Thrombey Family in Rian Johnson’s Knives Out (2019)

Whether or not it was planned by the film’s production company, it is fascinating that Knives Out (2019), one of the most entertaining films of the year, was released in the UK a few weeks prior to The Rise of Skywalker (2019) and happens to be written and directed by Rian Johnson, the man responsible for its divisive predecessor: The Last Jedi (2017). Johnson’s choice to work on Knives Out can be interpreted, much as the post-Avengers Joss Whedon’s black-and-white film adaptation of Much Ado About…


As we close out both 2019 and the 2010s, each of our writers has chosen to present a retrospective of the last decade of Shakespeare. Other than looking back at the past ten years and forwards to the next ten, they’ve each chosen their own focus and format.

In this two-part review of a decade in Shakespeare, I will identify ten standout performances in the playwright’s work, both on stage and screen. This second part surveys five outstanding actors from 2016–19. You can read part one of my performance retrospective here.

Sope Dirisu as Coriolanus in Coriolanus at the Royal…


As we close out both 2019 and the 2010s, each of our writers has chosen to present a retrospective of the last decade of Shakespeare. Other than looking back at the past ten years and forwards to the next ten, they’ve each chosen their own focus and format.

In this two-part review of a decade in Shakespeare, I will identity ten standout performances in the playwright’s work, both on stage and screen. This first part surveys five outstanding actors from 2010–15. I have chosen to include both categories in an attempt to reflect the convergence of these two media through…


NOTE: This article contains spoilers for both Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials novels and BBC/HBO’s 2019 adaptation for television.

‘Thou art inclined to sleep’: James McAvoy as Lord Asriel in His Dark Materials (BBC/HBO).

Yesterday, the BBC and HBO launched their long-awaited adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s beloved His Dark Materials trilogy of novels. Season 1 will cover the first book in the series, Northern Lights, and in this opening episode ‘Lyra’s Oxford’ we were introduced to the tale’s tomboyish protagonist Lyra Belacqua (played with the perfect mix of ferocious intensity and brittle sensitivity by Logan’s Dafne Keen). …


Bottom (Hammed Animashaun), Oberon (Oliver Chris) and Titania (Gwendoline Christie) in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Production image: Manuel Harlan for the Bridge Theatre).

A favoured technique by directors seeking to connect their Shakespearean production to a modern audience is to incorporate popular music of the period which will either highlight a prominent theme already contained within the original text or encapsulate the emotions of a specific character.¹ Nicholas Hytner’s 2019 A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Bridge Theatre doubles down on the power of pop to not only root us in the contemporary moment but also, in the manner of the catchiest song, lodge specific moments in the audience’s memory long after the production ends.

However, for a show which appeared to be…


Hytner’s Rude Mechanicals [left to right]: Flute (Jermaine Freeman), Bottom (Hammed Animashaun), Quince (Felicity Montagu), Starveling (Francis Lovehall), Snug (Jamie-Rose Monk) and Snout (Ami Metcalf) (Production image: Manuel Harlan for the Bridge Theatre).

Last week I attended the NT Live broadcast of Nicholas Hytner’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Bridge Theatre and it is an experience which I will never forget. Just as Peter Brook’s seminal RSC production struck a chord in the 1970s with its minimalist staging and darker, adult take on Shakespeare’s comedy, so I expect director Hytner’s immersive, pop culture savvy production to become one which defines future Dreams for decades to come.

Despite the largely carnivalesque tenor of this production (which felt as palpable in the cinema as in the theatre), the production opened on an unexpectedly sombre…

Ronan Hatfull

Associate Tutor in English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick, where he wrote his thesis on the the Reduced Shakespeare Company.

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