Love Deadline (Desdemona): Love is like the moon

Love Deadline (Desdemona) is a gorgeous one-woman show performed in English by Korean actress Ji Young Choi. Its minimal, elegant aesthetic accompanies a strongly evocative performance which tackles domestic violence, the changeability of love relationships and the sacrifices one is prepared to make for love. Continue reading

Verdi’s Macbeth by English Touring Opera: a classic transcending form

Firstly, I write this review from a theatrical perspective and background, not an operatic one. A lover of Shakespeare and Macbeth, but a novice to this art form; I don’t know my aria from my elbow but I can tell drama when I see it (or hear it) and the English Touring Opera’s version of Verdi’s Macbeth (first performed in Italian in 1847) has it in bucketloads. Continue reading

Wise Children: Master-Mistresses of play

Emma Rice brings her unique, exuberantly impish vision to Angela Carter’s great last novel, Wise Children, launching her new theatre company of the same name. Fans of either portfolio won’t be disappointed; you’ll find here all the magic, colour and mischief both Rice and Carter are known for. Sumptuously aesthetic as ever, this fresh adaptation is a love letter to theatre, in all its sparkling glamour, vulnerability and unparalleled intimacy. Continue reading

Cymbeline: Time’s up for our problematic fave

Through the narrow, raised doorway at Merchant Taylor’s Hall, settling in under the exposed roof timbers, the cast of York Shakespeare Project’s latest production assemble in the bright glow of the Great Hall chandeliers, in front of the grand empty fireplace crowned with the London Drapers Company Armorial Bearings (painted on wood before 1668). The smell of a thousand dead fires sits in the fabric of the room, the air is achingly dry and footsteps muffled. The honouring of the traditional pomp and ceremony of early theatre here in this space feels almost religious – the auditorium emanates a sense of worship and respect for something old and dusty. This is Shakespeare exactly as you would expect it. Leave your revolution at the door, because if you thought The Taming of the Shrew was heavy content… well, buckle up. Continue reading

Ballet Black Double Bill: dance review

Led by Artistic Director Cassa Pancho, Ballet Black celebrates dancers of Black and Asian descent. Cathy Marston’s 2018 narrative piece is based on the 1963 short story The Suit by South African writer Can Themba. Originally published in the inaugural issue of South African literary journal The Classic, the story was banned by the apartheid regime. Though that setting is somewhat lost here without follow-up reading, the emotional truth of the characters’ experience sings through this delicate re-telling that honours both the tragedy of toxic jealousy and the breathless lightness of finding oneself welcomed unconditionally in another’s arms. Continue reading

Prisoners Let Loose in a Ballroom: York Shakespeare Project presents Two Noble Kinsmen

Austen meets Sharpe in this Regency-flavoured reduction of Shakespeare and Fletcher’s Two Noble Kinsmen, in which the playtime of performance gives a new lease of life to characters confined by war, law and societal expectations. Director Tom Straszewski brings considerable historical and geographical context to the chaotic happenings of the play to really make it sing. Women tamed and conquered, scorned and used and even driven beyond wit abound in this tragicomic production featuring as part of York’s Feminist Fletcher Festival. Deemed a marinated hangover of A Midsummer Night’s Dream tinged with influences of older, darker tales, Two Noble Kinsmen errs toward ambiguity and unfinished business. Folk flute and floaty dresses mingle with Macbeth-like harbingers, a modest colour palette of cream and dusty navy enhancing the mixture of oppression and vulnerability. The actors look to the audience often, as if prisoners pleading for forgiveness to save themselves from the gallows. Continue reading

Cast & Crew Call: Two Noble Kinsmen

There’s a first time for everything, and today we share our first casting call. We suspect our readers may be interested to hear about this new call for York Shakespeare Project’s upcoming production of The Two Noble Kinsmen. Continue reading

Yorkshire Scandals: Art Reporting Life

It is a bittersweet time for the arts and the news in York, what with the only paid local arts critic role being threatened with redundancy. The city’s independent art scene thrives as ever, and we strive to document the full, rich programme of events taking place in our city. Inevitably, where the money dries up, other resources follow, and we are looking at a future with decidedly less coverage. So what happens to the art that’s doing its own reporting? Continue reading

Well-fangled Theatre delight in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is well known for its magically romantic narrative of quarrelling lovers and tricksy fairies, so expectations were high for something unique. Well-fangled Theatre more than delivered. Continue reading