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Click on the images below for links to the plays and reviews
click here for link Ritual in Blood

Designer Simon Lima Holdsworth: The house of a persecuted Jewish family was been ransacked: Naomi bemoans the vigilante arrest of her husband, Copin. It was believed in medieval times that Jews ritually murdered Christian children for Passover, and the play culminates with the expulsion of all Jews from England in 1290.

click for link Salome
Ben Brantley, New York Times, 19 Oct 1995

Mr. Berkoff has conceived the evening as an aristocratic party in which the sycophantic guests become a chorus for the tortured interactions of King Herod (Mr. Berkoff), his arrogant wife, Herodias (Carmen Du Sautoy), the princess Salome (Zigi Ellison) and the prophet Jokanaan (Jolyon Baker), better known as John the Baptist. And the sensational events of the story -- an onstage suicide, a decapitation and, of course, the dance of the seven veils -- are coolly mimed to Roger Doyle's equally cerebral music .

The performances are all stylized, in a surreal manner that goes way beyond archness, but none more so than that of Mr. Berkoff, who plays the conflicted, covetous Herod as a profile in kingly fatuity, using a gamut of voices that sometimes suggest Boris Karloff being avuncular. It is both irritating and terrific fun to watch.

The production's implicit comments on social decadence, embodied by the prurient, fawning chorus, seem pretty old hat. But the show does let the patterns in Wilde's text -- particularly the images of people looking hungrily at their objects of desire -- emerge with crystalline clarity.

click here for link The Secret Love Life of Ophelia

Designer Simon Lima Holdsworth: Ophelia and Hamlet exchange love letters through which unfolds their relationship to the point of Ophelia's death. The letters are at first lustful, but develop into love and, inevitably, sadness.

click here for link The Secret Love Life of Ophelia (link is no longer free)

Kate Copstick, 8 Aug 2001, The Scotsman

You cannot help but be struck by Berkoff’s mind. He talks the way many people can only dream about writing. He uses language with an instinct for precision that, along with his incandescent delivery, gives even a throwaway line the effect of a pronouncement. His phrasing and his imagery injects drama into the prose of even casual conversation.

This year he is directing The Secret Love Life of Ophelia. It began life in Morocco, where he was "earning a journeyman’s wages" in a movie when someone suggested he contribute to The Erotic Review’s competition to write erotica in the manner of a famous writer. Berkoff chose Shakespeare, beginning with a series of outrageously bawdy verses charting the mutual lustings of Hamlet and Ophelia.

click here for link Shakespeare's Villains
17 October 2000

Without a note or a prop he orated, cajoled, strutted and mimicked his way through an illustrated talk on the dastards of Shakespeare, populating the empty stage with a gaggle of living beings. Without a break except for a second to wipe the sweat and drain a cup of water, for 95 minutes he displayed (while the lighting changed from house lights to a spot tinged with blood and back again) as if they were film clips masterful cameos of his men

...It was a night of true interpretation and re-creation.

click here for link Shakespeares Villains
Aishwarya Mavinkurve, 8 Mar 1999

I have found that despite the almost unbreachable gaps between the desires of nations, in theatre, they are all one - they laugh at the same time, are silent at the same time, are enlightened by the same things. It showed me how alike we all are'.

click here for link Shakespeares Villains
Elyse Sommer, 2001

The first villain to get the Berkoff treatment is Iago -- "a mediocre villain . . .somebody who is jealous of all your achievements". If he were Oedipus, his envy of Othello's great love would want to make him tear out the Moor's eyes. "but he's not Oedipus. . .he hasn't got that kind of courage."

Belgrano Sink the Belgrano!

Louise Gold makes a striking and suitably strident Maggot Scratcher, swearing like a trouper at her craven underlings. But the best moments rarely rise above the level of a 'Spitting Image' sketch." Malcom Hay, Time Out, 5 Nov 1986.

I'm not sure whether critic Malcolm Hay realised that the leading lady was a founder member of Spitting Image (their Leading Puppeteer in fact).

  Sturm und Drang


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