The Merchant Of Venice(Rsc)
Posted 14 May 2011 - 10:50 AM
Posted 14 May 2011 - 11:52 AM
Posted 14 May 2011 - 12:01 PM
Posted 14 May 2011 - 10:39 PM
Key scenes were destroyed or lost. Patrick Stewart was masterly and his quality of acting, his delivery and charisma completely outshone the rest of the cast.
Posted 15 May 2011 - 08:27 AM
I'm sure that Mr Stewart's complex Shylock will be deservedly lauded. However, for me the performance of the evening Susannah Fielding's Portia. I won't give too much away, but it began in an unconventionally comic mode (adding some much needed humour to the casket scenes) and grew from there into something much richer and darker. It won't be to everyone's taste but Ms Fielding attacked it with such commitment, verve and attention to detail that she just blew away the cobwebs from this role.
If I have any minor quibbles, they were that the running time was a bit long at 3hrs15min – I would like it to have been closer to the advertised 2hrs45min - and some of the American accents waivered a bit. But this was a preview performance and these things will surely tighten up during the run.
We've already booked to see this production again later in the run, which is something I've not been tempted to do with an RSC production for years. After a few rather pedestrian years in the Courtyard, let's hope the move back into the RST sees the company re-energised – though I have my doubts while they continue to use some of their workmanlike stock directors – I won't mention names.
A great production with a uniformly good cast, it engaged, entertained and provoked in equal measure – what more can you ask for from an evening at the theatre? Go and see it.
Posted 20 May 2011 - 05:43 AM
Apparently Billington shouted at Letts at one point for laughing in the wrong place.
Posted 20 May 2011 - 08:52 AM
I thought this would polarise, though a blustery bad review from Quentin Letts is usually quite a good sign, as a theatre reviewer, he is singularly lacking in insight; I sometimes wonder whether he really exists or is some sort of Edna Welthorpe character dreamed up in the Mail's editorial office. However, one thing caught my eye in his rant, he claims to be 'Disappointed at having spent the best part of 50 quid on this production.' - is he rated so inconsequential as a reviewer that he doesn't get a comp? In that case, why doesn't his own newspaper pay for his ticket? ...... or maybe he's just lying? .... in the Daily Mail? - surely not!!?
Posted 20 May 2011 - 09:19 AM
I am not someone who worships Rupert Goold - however this was a brilliant and audacious piece of theatre. I could not believe how he was getting away with it but it works.
Letts clearly couldn't buy in to the re-imaging and was blinded by his own prejudices. I had severe reservations ahead of reaching the theatre - the rumours of Las Vegas, Elvis and Batman were making me very wary - but the energy, brio, panache and intelligence of the production swept that away in seconds.
It will clearly be a marmite production - but it is bold and clever. It is much more successful than Boyd's disappointing Macbeth.
Posted 20 May 2011 - 10:32 AM
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