This year provided the opportunity to see major productions of nearly all of Shakespeare’s history plays, most of them in London. My reviewing year started with Joe Hill-Gibbins’s cleverly truncated Richard II at the Almeida Theatre. The set, by Ultz, was a bare grey vault. As the play started, Simon Russell Beale’s Richard, clad in a plain black T-shirt, came downstage, explaining to the audience that ‘I have been studying how I may compare / This prison where I live unto the world” (5.5.1–2). The rest of the cast of eight stood behind him, facing the rear wall.