Shakespeare Gap Analysis

My Favourite Shakespearian play is Macbeth. Taking advantage of living and working in Oxford I went to the theatre as much as I could to see Shakespeare plays. Every Summer there are lots of productions in Oxford and you get to see Shakespeare in some lovely venues like The President’s Garden Magdelan College, then of course there is the opportunity to jump on the train heading in the direction of Stratford-Upon-Avon or the Globe in London. No excuses to miss Shakespeare.

The best performances I’ve seen, by a mile, are Kevin Spacey in Richard III @ The Old Vic and John Simm as Hamlet @ The Crucible Sheffield.

I’ve been to the theatre to see

Antony and Cleopatra (1606)
The Creation Theatre’s production in the Said Business School in Oxford. Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, because he has a God complex and when he doesn’t get what he wants, everyone dies.

As You Like It (1599)
The RSC’s production at The Courtyard Theatre Stratford-Upon-Avon. “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players”  and in this case the girl gets the boy, but also everyone gets married.

The Comedy of Errors (1589)
I saw this twice first at the Bodleian by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on Tour,  then at The University Church of St. Mary the Virgin by Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS). The best production was in the Old School Quadrangle at The Bodleian Library in Oxford, obviously. it was the Globe on tour, but both productions were hilarious. Two sets of twins get separated in a shipwreck. They find each other in Ephesus, but not before there are a few mishaps with mistaken identify.

Hamlet (1600)
with John Simm at The Crucible Sheffield. It was fantastic, John was a totally manic, angst ridden Hamlet. I really believed he was mad. Everyone dies in the end. Highlight, I met John in a restaurant after the show, nice.

Henry V (1598)
The Kings dead, long live the King. Henry V takes the throne and tries to put his past boozing in the Boars Head, behind him. He decides he is entitled to parts of France, the French Dauphine disagrees, so off Henry sets for war in France. This production, by Creation Theatre, was set against the backdrop of Oxford Castle, spectacular.

Macbeth (1605)
Oxford Theatre Guild‘s production @ Trinity College Gardens, Oxford a good production, but really witches need Cauldrons and Fire otherwise what is the point.

The Merry Wives of Windsor (1600)
The production was set in Wadham College …. written for the crash ….. “There is money, spend it, spend it; spend more”

The Merchant of Venice (1596)
This was the play I studied as a teenager in school for exams. We went to see it performed in Dublin during the summer holidays, can’t remember which theatre, might have been the Peacock.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595)
Tomahawk Theatre’s production @ Oxford Castle, extremely enjoyable and Puck was full of mischief as you would expect.

Much Ado about Nothing
with David Tennent and Catherine Tate @ Wyndham’s Theatre, Charing Cross Road. Set in the 1980’s, in Gibraltar, it’s absolutely hilarious, everyone falling in and out of love, and in love again. I had a pain in my side laughing, so is Shakespeare still relevant today …. duh I think so.

Richard II (1595)
with David Tennant at the Barbican, Christ like with long hair and robe, his Richard is at once demented and cunning, he’s just killed his uncle the Duke of Gloucester and dares his hapless court to implicate him in the murder, he steals land, everyone hates him, his cousin Henry becomes King, he plots to kill Richard, Richard dies, brilliantly of course.

Richard III (1 592)
with Kevin Spacey at The Old Vic. I’m speechless, the most fantastic, epic, creative and powerful performances I have ever seen. Best of the Kings killing everyone and then dying. Kevin I salute you.

Romeo and Juliet (1594)
The Creation Theatre’s production in the Said Business School in Oxford. Typical families who hate each other, unfortunately their kids are in love, are torn apart, then die. Creation Theatre’s best production yet. Who would have thought it, a Shakespearian comedy! Although I remember reading it when I was a teenager and I was sure Mercuio’s part should be delivered tongue in cheek. Brilliant, brilliant production.

The Taming of the Shrew (1593)
Oxford University Dramatic Society (OUDS) production in The President’s Garden Magdelan College. It’s generally not a good idea to get married when you don’t want to, and particularly not a good idea to try to control a person, I think the end where the wife repeats what it is to be a good wife is much tongue in cheek from Shakespeare! The Student’s enthusiasm was infectious and their interpretation extremely funny. This I think is probably the best setting I’ve been to yet; Shakespeare and Pimms in The President’s Garden @ Magdelan College is hard to beat.

Twelfth Night (1599)
I saw this play twice, once at The RSC Courtyard Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon and once at The Said Business School in Oxford. Brother and sister both think each other is dead, they keep getting mistaken for each other which is pretty funny. I think the Creation Theatre’s production at the Said was the funniest version.

That means this is what’s left to see

All’s Well That Ends Well (1602)
Coriolanus (1607)
Cymbeline (1609)
Henry IV, Part I (1597)
Henry IV, Part II (1597)
Henry VI, Part I (1591)
Henry VI, Part II (1590)
Henry VI, Part III (1590)
Henry VIII (1612)
Julius Caesar (1599)
King John (1596)
King Lear (1605)
Love’s Labour’s Lost (1594)
Measure for Measure (1604)
Othello (1604)
Pericles, Prince of Tyre (1608)
The Tempest (1611)
Timon of Athens (1607)
Titus Andronicus (1593)
Troilus and Cressida (1601)
Two Gentlemen of Verona (1594)
The Winter’s Tale (1610)

Other Plays I really enjoyed

Doctor Faustus in my favourite place in Oxford, The Norrington Room in Blackwell’s Bookshop. This was a very active production including actors leaping off the book shelves, by Creation Theatre, Brilliant.

Most spectacular Theatre

In my opinion, the most spectacular theatre has to be the Minack in Cornwall. I saw A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum produced by Truro A.O.D.S. It was hilarious and the backdrop was amazing, an ink black sea with a huge bright moon, fabulous. Check out their live Webcam.

Minack Theatre under the stars in Cornwall