(Mark Lawson’s article appeared in the Guardian, 10/27.)

While Shakespeare wrote only one formal trilogy – the Henry VI plays – the theatre schedules have a habit of arranging his one-off plays into unofficial sequences, as different productions of the same play occur in rapid succession.

In the last six months, London theatregoers have had the chance to see Measure for Measure directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins at the Young Vic (until November 14), staged by Dominic Dromgoole at the Globe, and in a touring version by the Russian-language subsidiary of the Cheek By Jowl company, which visited the Barbican and the Oxford Playhouse earlier this year.

Clusters of Shakespeare productions are often caused by the plays having come to be seen as tests that actors of a certain age or rank must meet, which explains the regular traffic jams of Hamlets and Lears. But the offering of Olympic acting challenges is not the reason for the current popularity of this play.


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