sun 26/05/2024

16th century

Player Kings, Noel Coward Theatre review - inventive showcase for a peerless theatrical knight

Shakespeare’s plays have ever been meat for masher-uppers, from the bowdlerising Victorians to the modern filmed-theatre cycles of Ivo Van Hove. And Sir John Falstaff, as Orson Welles proved in Chimes at Midnight, can be the star of his very own...

Read more...

Richard Schoch: Shakespeare's House review - nothing ill in such a temple

Richard Schoch, in the subtitle of his new book on Shakespeare’s House, promises something big: “a window onto his life and legacy.” To the disgruntled reader – pushed to the brink by one too many new books on Shakespeare, each nervously...

Read more...

Shakespeare: Rise of a Genius, BBC Two review - the Bard's soul bared in hybrid drama-documentary

Four centuries on from the publication of the First Folio, is there anything new to be said about William Shakespeare? Well, the fact that there is nothing old to be said about him (very little is known about the life of the glover’s son from...

Read more...

Hamnet, Garrick Theatre review - conventional adaptation of the bestseller drains its poetry away

The RSC apparently has a hit on its hands with its West End transfer of Hamnet. Box office demand has already prompted an extension of the run by six weeks, until February 2024.The draw is presumably the bestselling 2020 novel by Maggie O’Farrell on...

Read more...

The Ugly Duchess: Beauty and Satire in the Renaissance, National Gallery review - put in context, a much-loved picture reveals its complexity

Despite the fact that it’s a cruel depiction of an aging woman, I have always loved Quinten Massys’ The Ugly Duchess (pictured below, left). The Flemish artist invites us to laugh at an old dear who, in the hope of attracting a suitor, has tucked...

Read more...

Jaan Kross: A Book of Falsehoods review - plague, power and deception in 16th century Tallinn

When the first volume of Estonian master Jaan Kross’s peerless historical trilogy first appeared in an English translation by Merike Lepasaar Beecher back in 2016, what leapt out at me about this fictionalised saga about the adventures of real-life...

Read more...

Blood, Sex & Royalty, Netflix review - yo, bros, get down with the GOAT, Henry VIII

“It was like Woodstock on steroids,” opines an expert in Netflix’s new release about the doomed marriage of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn (yes, another one).Not sure you remember anything of that description from your history lessons? That would be the...

Read more...

James IV: Queen of the Fight, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh review - revelatory historical drama

"The poem is real," intones entertainer-turned-courtier Ellen solemnly as a prologue and epilogue to Rona Munro’s vivid, vibrant new James IV: Queen of the Fight, presented by Scottish producers Raw Material and Edinburgh’s Capital Theatres in...

Read more...

Anne Boleyn, Channel 5 review - whispery and weepy

"Get out!" The order, spoken some way into the third and final episode of Channel 5's entry into the Tudor drama sweepstakes, Anne Boleyn, certainly seizes one's attention. Not only is our doomed heroine snapping under pressure on the way to one of...

Read more...

The Gesualdo Six, St Martin-in-the-Fields online review - perfectly polished polyphony

For their concert debut at St Martin-in-the-Fields, The Gesualdo Six brought a programme of English motets for the final instalment in the venue's trio of Easter concerts. Having come together for a one-off project in 2014, singing Carlo Gesualdo’s...

Read more...

Hughes, Manchester Collective, Lakeside Arts online review - creating the occasion

There’s an atmosphere of tender restraint through most of the programme created by Ruby Hughes and Manchester Collective for Lakeside Arts at the University of Nottingham. It was streamed live yesterday afternoon, and, as is the way with most...

Read more...

Blu-ray: The New World

Terrence Malick completists might consider this Blu-ray of The New World the dream version. Criterion's three-disc release contains the three different cuts of Malick's 2005 opus, which critics either believe is an incomparable masterpiece...

Read more...
Subscribe to 16th century