QUOTE(armadillo @ Sep 25 2007, 01:43 PM)
Alaex Jennings gave one of the finest Shakespearean performances I've ever seen. And how could anyone (except Jan, obviously) object to Phil Daniels actually making a Shakespearean clown funny? But the bear wasn't a patch on the one in the Propellor Winter's Tale.
I didn't find him funny at all. I found it a misguided attempt to make the play appeal to teenagers by a middle-aged director trying to appear trendy and missing the mark. I thought Jennings was good (he was better in the same director's Measure for Measure which I mentioned). However, I would say this production was a work of genius compared with the Propellor one which was by far the worst production of this play I have ever seen.
Actually, this particular Shakespeare clown is often funny - Ron Cook was good in the first Adrian Noble production, Joe Melia in the Terry Hands one, you really don't need heavy directorial intervention to make it work (unlike some).
The bear scene is hard to do - one recalls with disbelief a bloke in a fancy-dress bear costume staggering at a snail's pace across the wide open spaces of the Olivier stage from one side to the other in the Peter Hall production. Best "realistic" bear (rather than the smart-arse symbolic bear as teddy-bear approach favoured by the likes of Propellor) was the RSC Roundhouse production (Matthew Warchus) which I think they may have used again in the promenade Swan production last year (Dominic Cooke).