By William Shakespeare
Directed by Sally Cookson
Venue: Rose Theatre, Kingston
Date: Thursday 19th March 2015
One of the lovely things about the number of Shakespeare productions being put on these days is that we get a chance to compare and contrast performances much more quickly than before. This is a fairly typical case: an early performance of one production followed a few weeks later by a completely different version with a reprise of the first one close on its heels. There were some interesting similarities amongst the many differences, and both had a lot to offer with their individual take on the play.
By Reginald Rose
Directed by Christopher Haydon
Venue: Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
Date: Friday 13th March 2015
It’s almost exactly a year since we saw this production in London, and tonight was just as enjoyable an experience. Most of the cast had changed, but the set and staging were all the same, although they didn’t play the city noises before the start. Being in the front row meant that we were closer to the action and I certainly heard much more of the excellent dialogue tonight. The audience were nicely responsive, and the conflicts between the characters came across very clearly, while the tension of the unfolding story built nicely as well, especially through the second half. The revolve worked well, shifting the position of the table so subtly that I didn’t notice it, but I was more aware of the many trips to the water cooler made by most of the characters. All the performances were good, and Steve even thought that Tom Conti just shaded Martin Shaw as juror 8. (I had them neck and neck.)
One thing I was more aware of this time round was that the jurors had had to absorb a great deal of evidence over three days, so they hadn’t been able to spot the discrepancies till juror 8 made them spend some time considering their verdict. We did get a look at the floor plan of the flat this time; it was big enough to see, at least from the front rows. The quality of this play is such that we could watch it time and again and still find it enjoyable and gripping, so hopefully it will come back around in the future.
© 2015 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me