The Winter’s Tale (2016) OFF-BROADWAY REVIEWS

Photo: Sara Krulwich

  • Opening Night:
    December 6, 2016
    December 11, 2016

    Theater: BAM Harvey Theater / 651 Fulton Street, New York, NY,


    Sculptures breathe and kings weep in the Bard’s late masterpiece of wit and wisdom. In honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, director Declan Donnellan and Cheek by Jowl
    (’Tis Pity She’s a Whore, 2012 Winter/Spring) tackle the dizzying scope of The Winter’s Tale—countless hairpin turns from violence to farce, through multiple countries and over the course of 16 years—with trademark searing intellect and a fiercely contemporary approach.

    When King Leontes suspects his wife of infidelity, he throws her in prison and initiates a chain of events that destroys his once-happy family. But can he find redemption for his crimes? Can his senseless acts of violence somehow be undone? When is a man no better than a beast? Donnellan and his cast take up Shakespeare’s most fundamental questions in this tour-de-force interpretation, testing the limits of hope, humanity, and our capacity for wonder.

  • NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW OF The Winter’s Tale (2016)

    In This ‘Winter’s Tale,’ the King Is Insane. It’s as Simple as That.

    Ben Brantley

    December 7, 2016: “The Winter’s Tale” has been rewritten as the diary of a madman. Much of the first half of Cheek by Jowl’s viscerally charged interpretation of this strange Shakespeare romance, at the Harvey Theater of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, is presented through the perspective of one seriously demented king. His name is Leontes, and as portrayed by a towheaded, jeans-wearing Orlando James, he looks the very model of a laid-back modern monarch. Striking cheerful poses with his stylish wife, Hermione (a tonier-than-thou Natalie Radmall-Quirke) and their neatly attired son, Mamillius (Tom Cawte), Leontes evokes the accessible wholesomeness of Prince William in a Hello! magazine photo shoot. Observe, though, the strained expression that overtakes the good king’s face whenever a certain creepy music box melody starts up. (Paddy Cunneen is the composer and sound designer.) It’s a sound you associate with Italian slasher flicks of yore (remember Dario Argento?), and your instinct is to yell, “Watch out, Hermione, and lock up the axes!”



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