Friday, January 02, 2009

MACBETH: 9--An excellent performance of Shakespeare's "Scottish play". Nicol Williamson and Jane Lapotaire are both extremely strong in the central roles. The action of the play seems to unfold far more quickly than in Shakespeare's other tragedies, and, indeed, the play is a good half hour shorter than most of Shakespeare's other late dramas. The tradition is that John Middleton edited Macbeth and that this edited version is the one that has come down to us. If this is true, then Middleton did a fine job of cutting out the inessential and condensing the main action into a compelling whole.

ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA: 7--One of my own favourite plays is here marred by lack-lustre staging, direction and acting. Colin Blakeley plays Antony as a tree might play a block of wood. He has no charisma and charisma and charm is central to the role of Antony. The direction of Jonathan Miller is slow and laboured while the staging is miserly in its paucity. The only bright spot in this lugubrious production is Jane Lapotaire's interpretation of Cleopatra. Would that she had had a worthy Antony beside her!

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS: 9.25--An excellent production of a rarely seen play. This is one of Shakespeare's earliest dramas, probably written between 1589 and 1604 and, like the later "Tempest", it follows the rules of the classical unities. Indeed, its story of two sets of identical twins separated at birth, is a typical theme of the Roman comedies of Terence and Plautus. All the actors give a good performance, and Roger Daltrey is surprisingly good as Dromio.


Post a Comment

<< Home