Shakespeare Live! | RSC
With a fantastic range of inspiration, including ballet, classical music, hip hop, Broadway, and of course the plays themselves, the Shakespeare Live! tribute show provides something for everyone and joyously celebrates how 400 years after his death, Shakespeare is indeed more alive then ever.
The audience on the afternoon I went was equal in energy and joy as the recorded Stratford audience, an electric atmosphere which alone is worth the ticket. From the RSC’S Artistic Director’s introduction they never missed a joke, showing love for Shakespeare is alive and thriving when given the outlet – and with performances fully sold out across one of the venues, the atmosphere is extremely likely to reoccur!
Shakespeare is indeed more alive then ever
It’s star studded cast list celebrates the talented range of actors whose career sprung from (and in many thrilling cases, continues to include) a love of the bard, including Judi Dench, Ian McKellen, Tim Minchin, Rory Kinnear, Benedict Cumberbatch, Helen Mirren and hosts Catherine Tate and David Tennant. After a hilarious squabble over a certain famous soliloquy, we’re also given a teaser of Paapa Essiedu’s energetic and youthful Hamlet, which following raving reviews will be screened in cinemas in July. In fact, many of the pieces successfully act as a catalogue for buyable productions, such as Mirren in the Tempest (2000) and Tennant’s Hamlet and Richard II (which is still streaming free on the BBC’s website!).
Many of the short teaser scenes made me long for full versions of the casting, with Natey Jones as an endearingly exasperated Romeo, Roger Allam’s gut-wrenchingly powerful King Lear and Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar as the quick-witted loathers of Much Ado. I had to admit missing a couple recent adaptations in the line-up, notably the Q Brothers and Something Rotten, but to show every work that’s been inspired by Shakespeare would take a far, far longer performance.
I’m not sure if the giant flaming Shakespeare head was intended to be reverent or comical, but given the nature of his plays it seems only fitting to come across as both. The tribute show itself lives up to his legacy, being simultaneously hilarious and deeply touching.
For those familiar with Shakespeare, it’s a fantastic celebration of familiar faces, and for those new it’s a fantastic introduction to the thousands of brilliant adaptations through the last 400 years.
Tickets for the Palace Cinemas across Victoria have completely sold out, so get in while there’s still spots at Cinema Nova! The RSC has also announced they will be releasing a DVD later this year!