Heartworn hoodlums: Handel’s Rodelinda, ENO

Even ruthless, psychotic gangsters have to fall in love sometimes. And Rodelinda is all about what happens when the people at the top of the cruel power pyramid have got their minds on… other things, like other people’s faithful wives, as well as their crime kingdoms. Director Richard Jones translates Rodelinda’s setting (originally 7th century Lombardy) to gangster warfare…

Half-term heaven: The Dream Factory, House of Stray Cats

“Have you ever wondered where dreams come from? Or how they get into your head?” A thought-provoking debut production from House of Stray Cats, The Dream Factory takes us on an intriguing creative journey into the sometimes dark, sometimes brilliant world of dreams from the point of view of Sophie, a young girl who has suddenly…

Desperate to live the truth: An Ideal Husband, Oscar Wilde

It is a strange and fascinating inversion of life by art that, as Oscar Wilde’s own life unravelled towards its final, dark ruin, his dramas became ever lighter and funnier. An Ideal Husband is only capped by The Importance of Being Earnest for glittering wit, engaging humour, and a brilliantly twisting plot which holds our…

“I was made for destruction;” Wilde at Heart, Patrick Marley

The last time I saw a one-man show which an actor had personally researched about the life, times and trials of his lifelong hero, it was Simon Callow’s brilliantly vivid journey Inside Wagner’s Head. Callow made a powerful, emotive case for Wagner’s flawed genius, and the evening was packed with fascinating information: in fact, so…

Anglian Mist, Tim Lane & Cordelia Spence

Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company first performed Anglian Mist in a site-specific, immersive performance on Orford Ness itself in June. Written by Tim Lane and Cordelia Spence, who also directs, the play’s theme is the mysterious military intelligence operations which took place on the Ness in the 1970s, although the plot’s key premise (a Death…

Civil class war: Coriolanus, RSC

Coriolanus doesn’t often hit the modern stage: its plot, a hymn to the necessary evil of educated patrician privilege in order to provide for the politically fickle, unthinking plebeian multitude, doesn’t sit at all well with modern political correctness. Even in an age of Remoaning, as the failed political class continue to wring their well-manicured hands…

Here, too, are tears: Dido, Queen of Carthage, Marlowe, RSC

While there are many excellent reasons to read Virgil’s Aeneid from cover to cover, more than once, the fourth book of the great Roman epic (Dido’s abandonment by Aeneas and subsequent suicide) has perhaps inspired more artistic reactions than the whole of the rest of the poem put together in art, music, and literature. Christopher Marlowe’s beautifully…