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Click on the images below for links to the plays and reviews
click for link Coriolanus
Frank Rich, New York Times, 5 Feb 1989

'"... marked by a wholesale disregard for the text. Mr. Berkoff took large cuts, wrote lines of his own, and set the cast, led by a swaggering Christopher Walken, to boogeying about in the martial ''West Side Story'' style in which he directs his own plays in London. The result was a scabrous diatribe about the futility of politics - not Shakespeare's show exactly, but one that spoke to American audiences disillusioned by the election campaign. And despite the tyranny of the director's staging conceits, the acting was generally above the Shakespeare Festival average."

click for link Coriolanus
June 1996

Photos from the Berkoff production.  Recommended.

Steven Berekoff Coriolanus

click for link Coriolanus
American Theatre, March, 1989

No current director utilizes ritualized, Greek-choral staging better than Berkoff. With slight changes of wardrobe and occasional half-masks, on a set consistsing exclusively of 12 black lacquered chairs, the male ensemble efficiently plays the Roman senate and the Volscians as well as the Roman plebes -- economically underscoring, perhaps, Coriolanus's uniformly willful resistance to them all. And the completely non-naturalistic fight scenes churn up an energy that is purely theatrical: Without weapons or props, the soldiers engage in hand-to-hand combat to an agitated drumbeat, which halts abruptly for pauses filled with choreographed panting.

click here for link Coriolanus (link is down)

It has taken the critical establishment over twenty years to come to terms with Steven Berkoff's vigorous and highly original (in Western terms at least) approach to putting on plays. The irony is that his style is derived from the most ancient theatres there are. Based on classical Greek models and traditional theatrical forms from all over the world, Berkoff's theatre is one where meaning is conveyed as much by movement, action and attitude as by words. ("Words", he once said, "can be too precious in the theatre.") From his early training in mime, Berkoff has always been excited by the possibilities to be found in the interplay between ensemble and chorus, and throughout his work - and not least in the production of Coriolanus -this combination has consistently added to the bare text a further dimension of vital, physical expressiveness.

click here for link Coriolanus (link is down)

Coriolanus's Rome is suggested by a row of imposing pillars and black chairs while the monochrome costumes mix totalitarian chic, business wear and a dash of fetishism. The ruling patricians act sometimes like Nazis, sometimes like mafia dons, but always with distaste for the ragged commoners. In this sneering, abrasive Coriolanus is like a lighted match held to a petrol can.

The result is everything you would expect from a man whose name has achieved adjectival status: an atmosphere-laden extravaganza dominated by stylised movement and arresting visual images.

click here for link Coriolanus
Ian Shuttleworth

His verbal violence may be over-compensation for its physical counterpart. Whisper it softly, but the lad's beginning to knock on a bit for this lark. In battle scenes, as the ensemble lurch and mangle the air with the best of them, Berkoff looks uncomfortable even with the occasional boot-boy high-kick. For a ferocious general who can subjugate entire towns single-handedly, this is something of a drawback. Fifteen or even ten years ago, he would have exuded the desired physical menace seemingly without effort. The effort is now too visible.

The production is also hampered by his directorial exuberance. It's nothing new to say that he doesn't know when to stop, and in his original works and adaptations that instinct to fill every moment of performance is often one of his major assets. Here it fights against the script. De-emphasising the words is all very well, until one begins devaluing them.

click here for link Decadence (film)
David Nicholson 1999

[Joan Collins] and Berkoff first met on the TV series Sins and he says he fixed on her for this role many years ago. “I was a little taken aback when I first read the script,” she remembers. “I thought it would be terribly difficult to do and I didn’t really see myself in it. But Steven came over to my flat and read it through with me and I got a tiny inkling of how it would work.”

...The crew themselves maintain that Berkoff, the novice director, has found it hard to deal with tracks, laid for travelling shots and the complexities of film lighting. He has no training in these disciplines, but after 18 days’ shooting, director and crew had become reconciled, uniting against their common enemies: time and money.

click for link Decadence
theoxfordstudent, Simon Thomas, 2006

Berkoff uses expletives as often as other playwrights use verbs — but behind this is a subtle interplay of class and personality. Did I say subtle? Sorry. Subtle, Berkoff is not.  He chooses rather easy targets — racists, the upper class, upper class racists — and is not shy in depicting the sexual potential of horse-riding. It feels on occasion as though one has accidentally wandered into a fetishist’s most immoral fantasies. The play has only four characters: Steve, who is having an affair with Helen, is married to Sybil, who hires private investigator Les to check up on Steve. Confused? It gets more complex — the cast consists of only two members... Little could salvage Berkoff’s self-indulgent script, but the team behind this production have achieved the difficult and made this a play worth seeing. Just do not take your grandmother.

Dahling you were marvellous
TEW, 1985

Berkoff Dahling you were marvellous

click here for link Dahling you were marvellous (link is down)
Arts Network Swansea

This play, set in a watering hole catering for the theatrical chattering set, the play follows an evening after a first night, where outrageous flattery and deceit rage.

click for link Dog
Bruce Weber, New York Times, 4 Feb 2002

In ''Dog'' Mr. Berkoff, wearing an astonishingly unattractive shirt with a Union Jack on it, does a marvelous anthropomorphic pit bull -- Roy is his name -- growling, mumbling curses and panting impatiently in an effort to hold back a snarling anger. Most of ''Dog,'' though, is devoted to Roy's master, a hopped-up, twistedly vulgar, pub-crawling galoot who shows his love for Roy by teasing him unmercifully and feeding him pub snacks with the cellophane wrappers still on them:


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