Douglas Rintoul - Theatre Director/Playwright

DARDANUS | English Touring Opera 2017


"English Touring Opera’s autumn season centres on two great baroque works,

Handel’s Giulio Cesare and Rameau’s Dardanus. They’re poles apart in style:

Rameau’s tragédie lyrique – tense, declamatory and reined in – is almost

antithetical to Handel’s expansive, bravura take on Roman history. Yet

they’re also comparable in aim and subject; each deals with the

relationship between sex and war, the private agendas that dictate

political expediency and the phenomenon of love across enemy lines.

Comparatively unfamiliar to UK audiences, Dardanus, meanwhile, is a

remarkable work, shot through with the grace and magic we primarily

associate with Shakespeare’s late plays. The Prospero-like sorcerer

Isménor unravels the threads of destiny that conspire against the marriage

of Dardanus with Iphise, the daughter of Teucer, Dardanus’s sworn enemy

in war. The couple’s happiness must come, however, at the price of the

life of Anténor, who loves Iphise and is her father’s preferred suitor.

Rameau’s tentative optimism is balanced by deep, contained sadness –

this is music that gets quietly under your skin.



Douglas Rintoul’s production uses the same basic set (designed by Cordelia Chisholm) as Giulio Cesare, but its gilded corridors of power have now become a shuttered mausoleum in a modern-day war zone, where the ashes of countless fallen are strewn on the floor and relatives assemble to collect mementoes of the dead. The imagery initially seems heavy, but Rintoul works with, rather than against, the score. We’re soon engrossed in the opera’s world as Frederick Long’s Isménor conjures up gods and spirits, Grant Doyle’s Teucer frets and fumes over his daughter, and Dardanus and Iphise – Anthony Gregory and Galina Averina – move slowly towards expressing their long-concealed feelings for each other. The closing scenes, in which the machinery of war is finally dismantled and people begin to smile again, are profoundly touching." **** The Guardian


"Pure delight" **** The Express


"A work of dazzling intensity" **** BachTrack


"Rintoul draws attention irresistibly to the characters’ conflicts and predicaments....a creditable production of a musical masterpiece and demonstrates this repertoire’s dramatic and psychological richness" **** Classical Source


**** The Stage






THE CRUCIBLE | Queen's Theatre Hornchurch & Selladoor 2017


"A timely and powerful production of The Crucible.

It's good to see Hornchurch's Queens's Theatre putting itself back

on the map for serious theatre, seriously done, in a production that

will also take its work beyond Essex to a national tour with Sell a Door."

**** Mark Shenton in The Stage


"Gripping production" **** What’s On Stage


"An atmospheric feast for the senses… Douglas Rintoul’s direction is

resplendent and thought provoking" - **** West End Wilma


"Grips like a vice' ***** Reviews Gate


"This production feels fresh and the tension is tangible and profound"  


"Ingenious staging, almost cinematic at times" Evening Express


"A spectacular piece of theatre with which I cannot find fault" – Stage Talk Magazine



MADE IN DAGENHAM | Queen's Theatre Hornchurch 2016


“It wins us over — in its rousing calls to arms, its salute to solidarity and sheer gutsiness.” The Times



“This musical…has made a triumphant homecoming with a feisty new production…Essex audiences are loving it” **** Daily Mail



“Douglas Rintoul’s lovely, lively production bubbles with ebullient good humour, but isn’t afraid to let the bad times

have their moments too” **** Evening Standard



“So heartfelt and sincere… Terrific cast” **** The Stage



“An entertaining, heart-warming reminder of an important battle in the struggle for women’s rights” **** Reviews Hub



MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING | Queen's Theatre Hornchurch 2016


Surprisingly this is the first time Much Ado About Nothing has been performed at the Queen’s Theatre. The venue has a great pedigree when it comes to interpreting Shakespeare and this continues with this 1940s post-war take on the play widely considered to be a template for the romantic comedy, with its appealingly nostalgic jazz soundtrack.


New artistic director Douglas Rintoul’s inaugural Hornchurch production is a polished affair. In performances that belie their relative professional inexperience, Amber James, as the innocent yet resolute Hero, and the versatile James Siggens as love-struck Claudio, both confidently portray the smitten sweethearts.


Mark Jax’s caring Leonato expresses the anguish of a loving father betrayed, travelling from joviality to worry and despair – the audience shares in his evident pride during times of joy, yet also empathise with

his mental turmoil.


The real star here though, with her barbed remarks and sarcastic jousting, is Hattie Ladbury’s Beatrice. She’s well paired with the

jester-like Thomas Padden as Benedick, and their unorthodox courtship is a pleasure to watch.  Effortlessly shifting through dramatic gears, they both deliver their lines with impressive comic timing and witty mannerisms –

a pleasure to watch. The Stage




THE SUMMER BOOK | Unicorn Theatre 2014


'It will have a resonance with anyone who has a deep bond with theirown grandparent. Just beautiful' SOUTH LONDON PRESS *****


‘The on-stage chemistry is delightful: in high dudgeon, Sara Kestelman’s ‘grandma’ really rocks that Julie Andrews/Angela Lansbury cut-glass English sourpuss vibe to perfection. Director Douglas Rintoul has managedto get serious mileage pitting the confident pink-cheeked naivety of Sammy Foster’s Sophia against the canny, gimlet-eyed sagacity of ol’ grandma. Insolence, hubris and moral ambivalence are expressed in surprising ways and out of surprising lips. It’s bright, pacy, funny and just the right balance of nourishing for kids and thought-provoking for adults.' TIME OUT ****




ALL MY SONS | Watermill Theatre 2014


'The Watermill’s skilled cast put in beautifully crafted performances.'



'Deftly directed by Douglas Rintoul, this timeless classic is a

highly accomplished production and is thoroughly recommended.'



'Douglas Rintoul’s production of All My Sons at Newbury’s Watermill Theatre does full justice to Miller’s craft…Director Rintoul has put together a strong, hard-working ensemble who deliver rounded characterisations with depth and detail and give each word of the script its full weight… At the end of the show, many in the audience seemed slightly stunned by its impact. A couple of my friends, both mothers, said it had moved them to tears. All My Sons is a very welcome companion piece to Douglas Rintoul’s version of another great 20th century American text, Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, staged at the Watermill in 2012. Both shows have set the bar very high, and it will be fascinating to see what Rintoul delivers next.' ***** THE GOOD REVIEW




AS YOU LIKE IT | Transport UK Tour 2013


'Innovative and evening full of inventiveness and brilliant surprises' D'LETZEBUEGER LAND


'A quiet masterpiece' STAGE & SCREEN INSIDER


'Bold and ambitious...exciting and innovative' BRITISH THEARE GUIDE


'Enough innovation to excite and an energy of spirit that lifts the audience with them...certainly one [As You Like It] to remember' **** ONE STOP ARTS


'By far the most inventive, and in some ways the most magical As You Like It this season' PUBLIC REVIEWS


'Transport's new production of As You Like It, directed by Douglas Rintoul and produced by Transport Theatre, throws itself into Shakespeare’s words with a beautiful set piece. A duke is overthrown and banished by his treacherous brother, and his three loyal courtiers sweep him away in an exquisitely choreographed moment. The scene is a poignant foreshadowing of the production that follows. The choreography, lighting and melancholy piano come together breathtakingly. It’s moments like this that help make the production stand out.' STAGE & SCREEN INSIDER



1001 NIGHTS | Transport/Unicorn Theatre 2013/2014




'Warmly recommended' THE STAGE


'If this does not warm your heart then I don’t know what will.' A YOUNGER THEATRE


'Directed by Douglas Rintoul, it’s simply but ingeniously presented, rustling bits of junk into myriad props, harnessing its audience’s imagination in a continuous game of let’s-pretend and holding everyone, young and old alike, quite spellbound. An utter delight. **** THE TELEGRAPH




ELEGY | Transport / Theatre503 2012


'Essential viewing' **** TIME OUT


'Sensitive, nuanced, superb...important and universal story' **** WOS


'Assuredly one of the most vital shows in London right now' ***** PUBLIC REVIEWS


'Quietly shocking' **** The Telegraph


'Powerful' **** The List


'Able to touch and speak to many' The Stage


'I was profoundly moved' **** The Good Review


'Intrusively powerful...see it' Gay Times


'Moving coup-de-theatre' The Scotsman


‘Elegy is also a compelling tribute to the people who died in the crackdown on liberty - one UN official believes the number of homophobic murders in Iraq was 'in the hundreds' - as well as posing questions about how we treat immigrants from areas of conflict in the UK. Created and directed by Douglas Rintoul and re-devised by TRANSPORT theatre company after its premiere last year, this hour-long monologue could seem staid and dry. But a sensitive, nuanced performance from Phillips, plus superb lighting (Dani Bish) and sound design (Helen Atkinson) which shifts us in time and place so well (whether it’s a mobile phone beep or the whirr and horns of traffic) carry us along with and important and universal story.’ **** WhatsOnStage




OF MICE AND MEN | Watermill Theatre 2012






‘As a novel that Steinbeck evidently created with a mission to write for the theatre, it is true that the dialogue and setting needs little adaption for the stage. That may be the case but it does not dilute the enormous success of this production at the Watermill, a risk-taking theatre which always rises above and beyond the challenges it sets itself.


Beautifully crafted and staged, the production team excels in creating the highly charged and emotional relationship between George and Lennie. Douglas Rintoul’s direction is stirringly powerful, Hayley Grindle’s set is strong and dramatic, Paul Anderson’s lighting is hauntingly atmospheric and Helen Atkinson provides the dominant and chilling sound compositions.

With set, sound and direction a triumph, it is equally important to have a strong cast to do the play full justice. David Ganly is excellent as Lennie and together with Thomas Padden as his long-suffering friend and carer George, the two swiftly express the deep bond between the two characters with intense credibility. Johnson Willis is pitifully emotive as Candy, Tom Berish is intimidating as Curley, Jeff Alexander is Crooks, Nicholas Hart is Whit and Ian Porter is the level-headed Slim. Carl Patrick and Siobhan O’Kelly complete the cast as the Boss/Carlson and Curley’s lonely and flirtatious wife respectively.’ **** WhatsOnStage




INVISIBLE | Transport UK TOUR 2011/12





‘That's one of the best scenes in this pungent new play by Croatian writer Tena Štivičić, which puts the flesh and bones on the statistics about transnational migration. There's another about the ache to find the gherkin that tastes of home. At times it feels a little over-familiar, but in a smart and smartly acted production by Douglas Rintoul, this play about worth and worthlessness, what we see and what we fail to see, and the dissolution of dreams, has the dislocated air of nightmare.’ THE GUARDIAN


‘Stivicic and director Rintoul have fused a crisp, punchy script with dreamy slow motion choreography and innovative lighting/soundscapes in order to present a multilayered story which builds towards an unexpected climax. Using simple artistic techniques to penetrate a complex subject, Transport has produced a highly uplifting piece of theatre. Credit, too, to the New Wolsey for once again combining talents with an up and coming visiting company.’ THE STAGE




TOUCHED |Trafalgar Studios 2009


METRO ****



‘Directed by Douglas Rintoul, it's aware of its own limitations as well as those of its star, who's never called upon to dig too deep – rather, to show how an ordinary young lass can get into a shallow groove, then stay stuck in it for decades, gradually gathering wistfulness like fluff round a record-needle. At the very least, the evening shows the world that Frost, a mother of four who – like her character – grew up in Manchester, hasn't altogether turned into a tabloid cliche, living the high life in a fancy-pants house on Primrose Hill, partying with Kate Moss, plugging her fashion ranges or make short films. She slums it here with trim aplomb – deftly changing costumes between scenes, and holding her own, inches away from the audience, as she writhes about on a bed or confides Lesley's latest misdemeanour. Lewis piles on satirical twists to match Madge's own spiralling eccentricity. While our ditzy heroine begins sensibly enough by spurning a local lad and leaving home for London, she winds up, single and childless, madly wrecking a Madonna video in New York, toying with adopting an African orphan baby and making a desperate lunge for the star across a dancefloor. At once a cautionary tale and a nostalgic trawl through the bubble-gum sounds of yesteryear, Touched proves a warming and incisive ray of light for these dark, regretful days.’ TELEGRAPH ****




DESIGN FOR LIVING | Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg 2009


‘Douglas Rintoul directs an elegant and nuanced production in which the different characters grow on stage as they go through various emotional setbacks and have to grapple with contradictory feelings. The acting is precise, versatile and full of panache. Great care has been taken with the three fully realised sets as well as the clothes. Even Gilda’s hairstyles may serve as an indication of her changing circumstances, with the loose pageboy eventually making way for more sophisticated, bouffant American hair. In spite of the occasional rather saccharine passage, Coward’s text succeeds in moving beyond the period-piece feel with the questions it raises about conformity, personal freedom and celebrity. The deep melancholy underneath the laughter is both touching and disturbing.’ LAND




EUROPE | Barbican/Dundee Rep 2007


TIME OUT ****(Critic's Choice)

METRO ****  



'Director Douglas Rintoul and designer Colin Richmond have put together a slick, sleek production in which benches, timetables and screens are slid around efficiently. The actors add to the unsettling sense of a world in transit by sitting at the sides of the stage when not required. There are some other Brecht-lite tricks, with projected captions providing titles for scenes. Yet the effect is the opposite of alienation. We are constantly engaged by particularly fine performances from Samantha Young as a febrile station assistant dreaming of faraway destinations, and Michelle Bonnard as a refugee fleeing undescribed atrocities. The two young women become friends and offer tentative hope that the ideal of the brave new Europe may also prove to be a workable reality.’ EVENING STANDARD ****  



'The topic of how Europe treats its migrants has hardly gone away, but Greig gets behind media issue-grinding and traces the hurt, longing and fear on all sides with intelligence, humour and a fair few expletives. Designer Colin Richmond musters beautiful background 'departure board' visuals and scatters the mainly bare stage with autumn leaves. Without ever being explicit, the evening blows shaming memories of Bosnia's dead and discarded back in our faces.' THE TELEGRAPH


'Douglas Rintoul's elegantly spare production finds its heart in duologues between Robert Paterson and Hannes Flaschberger as Fret and the refugee father, and in particular between Samantha Young as the painfully romantic Adele and Michelle Bonnard as the disengaged, disillusioned Katia.’ THE FINANCIAL TIMES ****




KING LEAR | Creation Oxford 2006


‘A high-class production.’ THE STAGE




TAMING OF THE SHREW | Salisbury Playhouse 2002


‘The moment has long passed since productions of The Taming of the Shrew had women running shrieking from theatres. However, it still requires a shrewd director to make this comedy, which can come across like curdled milk, seem palatable. Douglas Rintoul, a young director of enormous promise, almost pulls it off here with a production that is as eye-catching as it is intelligent.

Rintoul's confident production has a lovely comic edge as it conveys all these ideas - not by imposing them upon the play, but through clever use of Shakespeare's sharp-eyed observations on the complexities of human nature. The acting is also the best I've seen in a classical play at this address for some time. What the evening lacks, however, is enough sustained energy to see it through to its conclusion. The momentum slows after the interval and does not pick up until the beautifully realised and detailed final scene, which recaptures the edge of the first half. That second-half dip is, I suspect, less a product of Rintoul's failure of nerve than of the constraints of limited rehearsal time. A pity, because, like Katherina herself, this is almost a cracker.’ THE GUARDIAN