John Gay, Arthur Miller and Shakespeare lead the seasonby Michael Coveney / July 18, 2018 / Leave a comment
The Beggar’s Opera
King’s Theatre, Edinburgh, 16th to 19th August
This year’s Edinburgh International Festival has a residency of the Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord in Paris: Robert Carsen’s production of The Beggar’s Opera (1728) by John Gay, with musical arrangements of Purcell, Handel and folk tunes (“Green Sleeves,” “Over the hills and far away”) by Johan Christian Pepusch, the first long-runner in musical theatre stage history, is buttressed by new work from directors Peter Brook (who filmed The Beggar’s Opera with Laurence Olivier as Macheath in 1953) and Katie Mitchell. The musical direction is by William Christie, leading his virtuoso ensemble Les Arts Florissants.
Theatre Royal, Bath, 9th to 25th August
David Suchet (above) stars as 89-year-old furniture dealer Gregory Solomon in Arthur Miller’s 1968 play, arguably his last major work. Solomon is a comic catalyst in the encounter of two long estranged middle-aged brothers meeting to discuss the disposal of their father’s property. Old wounds are re-opened while Solomon moves towards closing the deal. As one critic said, the play steeps itself in the past in order to elucidate the present.
Shakespeare’s Globe, 20th July to 13th October
Mark Rylance returns to the theatre he ran for 11 years to play Iago, the manipulative standard-bearer to the heroic Moor of Venice, here played by André Holland. Iago hates Othello. But why? Is he mean, envious, racist, or just downright nasty? The casting of the extraordinary Sheila Atim as Iago’s wife, Emilia, should cast new light on the play’s domestic arrangements.