Almost there. Trevor Nunn returns to the Rose Theatre Kingston next month with his production of King John marking the final stretch in his aim to direct all 37 of Shakespeare’s plays.
Richard the Lionheart is dead. His youngest brother John has become King of England despite claims from the French that the throne should go to his nephew, Prince Arthur. As war is declared between England and France an inheritance dispute is brought before the King by Richard’s illegitimate son, Philip the Bastard.
With its political allegiances and ruthless scheming, this is a rare opportunity to see some of Shakespeare’s most fascinating characters, including the wildly outspoken and corrosive Philip and King John, England’s weakest and vilest King, ‘a walking disaster of a ruler’ as described by contemporary chroniclers.
With scheming, ruthless politics and some of Shakespeare’s most striking characters – this is a classic that feels contemporary in its strong parallels to modern day Britain. A unique opportunity to see this rarely performed history play brought to life on the stage.
Nunn was last at the Rose Theatre with his epic production of The Wars of the Roses last year. The production marks Shakespeare’s 400th anniversary and will be the penultimate play in the director’s quest to complete the canon.
From 1968 to 1986, Trevor Nunn was the youngest ever artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, directing over 30 productions, including most of the Shakespeare catalogue, as well as Nicholas Nickleby and Les Misérables.
From 1997 to 2003, he was director of the National Theatre, where he ticked off Troilus and Cressida, Love Labour’s Lost plus the Merchant of Venice as well as Oklahoma!, My Fair Lady, A Streetcar Named Desire and Anything Goes.
Timon of Athens was directed at the Young Vic; Hamlet, Richard II at the Old Vic and The Tempest for the Theatre Royal, Haymarket while on screen he has added Antony and Cleopatra, The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth, Othello, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear and Twelfth Night.
Away from Shakespeare he is one of our most respected directors, tackling, among others, Tom Stoppard’s plays, Cats, Sunset Boulevard, Starlight Express, Aspects of Love, Inherit the Wind, A Little Night Music, Cyrano de Bergerac and Kiss Me Kate.
King John runs at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, from May 14–June 5 with opening night on May 18.