While many of the performances listed took place long before Love London Love Culture was even thought of, watching Shakespeare Live! on the BBC last night brought to mind some of the best Shakespeare performances that this particular writer has seen…
1. A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Rose Theatre, Kingston: 2010 – starring Judi Dench, this wonderfully traditional production of Shakespeare’s comedy was beautifully directed by Peter Hall and designed by Elizabeth Bury. As well as Judi Dench it featured a fantastic performance from Oliver Chris as Bottom, who delivered a charismatic performance.
2. Richard III, Trafalgar Studios: 2014 – this production was an opportunity to see the likeable Martin Freeman as you have never seen him before as the cruel and merciless Richard III in a production directed by Jamie Lloyd. Plenty of blood and a vivid imagination ensured that this was a powerful production.
3. Hamlet, The Barbican: 2015 – this was the most talked about production of 2015. What with certain newspapers posting early reviews and people filming in the theatre, it was also one of the most controversial productions to hit the stage. Benedict Cumberbatch took the lead role to create a mesmerising performance, helped by the wonderfully atmospheric production created by the rest of the team.
4. Macbeth, Trafalgar Studios: 2013 – James McAvoy took the title role in this production directed by Jamie Lloyd. Set in Scotland in the future, it was a brutal and challenging production that really got to the heart of Shakespeare’s story and understood the psychological nature of the characters. Very chilling to watch.