Shakespeare within the Abbey

Shakespeare within the Abbey: Mark Rylance

★★★★★

All Places that the Eye of Heaven Visits 

(The Globe at Westminster Abbey, 22 April 2017)

Waiting outside Westminster Abbey with mounting excitement, my mum said that she really didn’t mind what this evening involved as long as she got to see Mark Rylance. We were about to experience his brainchild: an extraordinary promenade performance which brought a company of Globe actors over the river for a magical evening among the pillars and monuments of this splendid church. For two nights only, you could wander in the Abbey and be surprised at every turn by an actor ready to share a soliloquy in front of a tomb, or to stare into your eyes and declaim a sonnet. It’s entirely thanks to my parents’ efficiency that we’d been able to get tickets and so I was keen that Mum should have her moment. And she did, though not as any of us had expected.

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Much Ado About Nothing: William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing

★★★★

(Iris Theatre, St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, 9 July 2016)

Summer has come to London (although the British weather hasn’t had the memo). These long, light evenings are the cue for the ever-wonderful Iris Theatre to roll out the red carpet for another of their outdoor Shakespeare plays, performed as promenade productions in and around the Actors’ Church in Covent Garden. This year’s show is Much Ado, probably my favourite play, and as a longstanding fan of the company I just couldn’t resist. Moreover, the play has already enjoyed critical acclaim, with four nominations for the Off West End Awards. It was bound to be a good night out so I marshalled my visiting parents and we set off for an evening of Iris’s very special brand of magic.

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Richard III: William Shakespeare

Richard III

★★★★

(Iris Theatre, St Paul’s Church, Covent Garden, until 25 July 2014)

This is the third production I’ve seen by Iris Theatre, and they never fail to delight. While in previous years I’ve seen them perform light, summery romantic comedies (A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It), this was my chance to see them tackle something in a darker key. It’s a very topical choice of play, of course: debate is still raging over whether or not the remains discovered in Leicester last year are indeed those of Richard III. I was intrigued to see what Iris, and their director Daniel Winder, would make of the king.

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