Theater Reviews

Review: Free For All ‘Hamlet’ at the Shakespeare Theatre Company 

A prince of Denmark for the internet generation 

Let's get the basics out of the way. Hamlet is one of the greatest plays in history. The Shakespeare Theatre Company is a celebrated professional troupe. The Free for All series makes world-class theatre accessible to everyone, free to anyone willing to spend the time. It's good! Residents of the DMV, citizens of the states, tourists from the imperial provinces, go see it before July 21. It is time well spent. 

None the Wiser

Review: 'Socrates' by Tim Nelson

It's clear that Tim Blake Nelson sincerely loves Socrates. You may know Nelson as an actor from his turns in Coen Brothers works like the impossibly sympathetic and goofy Delmar in O Brother Where Art Thou, freaking out about his buddy being turned into a frog. Or, more recently, you may have seen him as the cheery and violent gunslinging "songbird" Buster Scruggs on Netflix. Now he's written a play, Socrates, currently running at the Public Theater in New York, about the second-most salient self-sacrifice in human history. It's poignantly set and incredibly cast, conjuring a world of Plato and Aristotle and Aristophanes that's engrossing. It's full of love, and it's full of rage.

Where Are The Gods Now?

Review: 'The Oresteia' at the Shakespeare Theatre Company

In 458 B.C. a director named Aeschylus won a contest, part of a yearly festival in which the collective performance and viewing of dramas was worship of the god Dyonisus, with three plays that make up The Oresteia. Today it is the only complete trilogy we have of its kind.

Playing Politics With the Bard

Review: 'Richard III' at the Shakespeare Theatre Company

The Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., just closed its production of Richard III this week—but not before opening it to a host of revisions intended to promote the tragedy's "parallels to the contemporary moment."

Double Trouble From The Bard

Review: William Shakespeare's 'The Comedy of Errors' at the Lansburgh Theatre

The only real stumble in Shakespeare Theatre Company's gleeful dancing on the line production of The Comedy of Errors is a prolonged, easily eight full seconds, flatulatory audio effect. The fart, which would be a juvenile epic poem if delivered by an actor bodily, is merely deflating when played on stereo. It's a pity the outburst doesn't work—the idea is in the text and the show's a riot. But the overstep is in the execution.

Power and Responsibility

Feature: Jordan Peterson live at the Warner Theater, June 8

Reuben drove six hours to see Jordan Peterson. He brought his mother. It's his birthday present. Reuben, "like the sandwich"—"or the patriarch," I say, prompting a laugh of agreement—just finished his freshman year at a small Christian college. He's maybe a bit above average height, thin, with an open, intelligent face. He has a mop of curly hair and is wearing a sensible plaid shirt. He's studying something combining bits of business and engineering.

The Filth of Athens

Review: 'Timon of Athens' at the Folger Shakespeare Theater

Imagine if King Lear had ended just after the great storm: on the heath, with a cold, bitter Lear sprawled in the muck, railing against mankind.

Signifying Nothing

Review: Shakespeare Theatre Company's Macbeth

The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s current production of Macbeth is an excellent example of how putting a “modern” spin on a classic can make a timeless story seem stale.

Did Not Like It

Review: 'As You Like It' at the Folger Shakespeare Theater through March 5

If you'd like to disappoint your date this Valentine's Day, take them to see As You Like It at the Folger Shakespeare Theater.

A Romp at the Kennedy Center

Review: Alexei Ratmansky's 'The Little Humpbacked Horse,' at the Kennedy Center through Feb. 5

We all like to see an underdog win. It's even better if at the end of it all, he gets a new improved body, the hand of the princess, and the throne.