Othello – February 2017

Experience: 8/10

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Richard Twyman

Company: Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory and The Tobacco Factory

Venue: The Tobacco Factory

Date: Monday 27th February 2017

Another fantastic production from STF, with the emphasis clearly on the text and the characters. The two young actors playing Othello and Desdemona did good work, but for me it was the brilliance of Mark Lockyer’s Iago supported by Katy Stephen’s perfectly pitched Emilia that made this performance so powerful. There were one or two aspects which didn’t work quite so well, but this is a production I would recommend highly to anyone: it’s a shame the public haven’t responded by making it a sell out for the whole of its run.

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Othello – July 2015

Experience: 5/10

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Iqbal Khan

Venue: RST

Date: Friday 24th July 2015

This was a strange experience. Both Steve and I rated one performance considerably higher than the production as a whole, and that doesn’t happen often. Despite this, or perhaps because of it, we’re looking forward to our second viewing as we’ve often found in the past that once we’ve adjusted to the way a production is being done, we can get a lot more out of a return visit, not to mention the possibility of improvements happening over time.

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Othello – June 2013

Experience: 10/10

By William Shakespeare

Directed by Nicholas Hytner

Venue: Olivier Theatre

Date: Sunday 16th June 2013

This was a fantastic performance. The modern setting enriched the detailed characterisations while the set gave us the necessary locations without being too elaborate. We had one understudy on stage today: Robert Demeger was indisposed so Jonathan Dryden Taylor took his place as the Duke.

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Othello – October 2011


By: William Shakespeare

Directed by: Daniel Evans

Venue: Crucible Theatre

Date: Monday 3rd October 2011

This was our maiden voyage as far as the Crucible is concerned. I found myself getting very excited – I love watching the snooker World Championships, and here I was, in the very building! I took a few minutes after we sat down to see where everything went for the snooker, so that I could put that to one side, and concentrate on the play.

The set was interesting, and effective. A large octagonal platform, sloping towards the front, occupied most of the space. There was a large eight-sided star design on it, suggesting the geometric patterns used in Islam, although it didn’t look particularly Islamic to me. The back wall was made of stone, with strategic gaps here and there. Two very tall wooden doors were placed in the middle, and there were mini arches along the top, along with some carving above the door. Some steps went nowhere on the left hand side – these were used as a platform for the herald, announcing the celebrations for Othello’s nuptials on Cyprus, and also supplied a sort of hiding place when required. Lights were lowered occasionally, and also the curtains for the wedding bed in the final act. Furniture was brought on and off as needed, and didn’t get in the way of the action. There were steps up to the platform all around the back of it. We sat to the left of the stage, and had an excellent view throughout – very little blocking, although we also saw a lot of backs through the performance.

The opening scene between Iago and Roderigo took a little while to get going for me. Dominic West had chosen a local accent for his Iago, and the unexpected sound took me by surprise. Silly really, given our location. Anyway I tuned in pretty quickly, and had very little difficulty later on. I still got the gist of the scene, and that was one of the great things about this production. They told the story really well, so that even when I didn’t catch all of the dialogue, I could see the characters’ emotions and thoughts clearly, as well as the connections of cause and effect which underpin this tragedy.

Roderigo was the same snivelling little brat we know and love so well from previous productions. Brabantio was weaker in this production than we’re used to, but he did well enough to keep the story going. I did like the way that Iago paused before the word ‘senator’ when replying to Brabantio’s insult ‘Thou art a villain’. As a general point, the exits and entrances didn’t exactly overlap as they do in some Shakespeare productions, but they were brisk, which helped to keep the running time down.

The next scene is our first sight of Othello, and Clarke Peters did a superb job with this part. In this scene he’s calm, reasoned and authoritative, stopping the fighting before anyone gets hurt. I did find myself wondering why Desdemona doesn’t appear at this point, although I accept her entrance has a better dramatic effect in the following scene, which starts with the Duke and two senators discussing the threat from the Turkish fleet. It’s always a bit absurd to have the various messages come so fast – the fleet must be travelling at a fair old clip to make such progress – but we’ll allow the artistic licence. This production made the political and military situation nice and clear, so the need for Othello’s services and the respect in which he’s held were well established by the end of this section.

When Desdemona enters she’s covered by a white veil. She removes it when asked to speak and gives it to Iago, who threw it aside. Roderigo must have retrieved it, as he’s clutching it later on. Now there’s always a dilemma when casting the young heroine parts in Shakespeare – do you go for a young, inexperienced actress who can easily represent youth, beauty, naivety, etc., or do you opt for a more experienced actress who can deliver the lines better, but whom the audience has to imagine to be a young girl? This dilemma was thrown into sharp relief for us earlier this year, when we heard Jane Lapotaire delivering a speech of Juliet’s at an event at the Birthplace Trust. No longer a young girl, she still had us believing every word of her speech, such was her ability to convey the thoughts and emotions in every line. The choice tonight was youth all the way, which may have engaged the younger audience members, but left us with a slightly weaker Desdemona than I would have liked to begin with. I warmed to her performance though, and she certainly made the age difference apparent.

When everyone else has left, Roderigo comes to centre stage, clutching the veil Desdemona has left behind, inhaling it to catch her scent, the poor fool. Iago has to work hard to talk him out of drowning himself, but of course he succeeds. His own plans are laid, and I felt his motivation was pretty clear tonight – he’s unhappy at his treatment by Othello, and only too ready to use the suspicion that Othello’s had his wife as justification for his wickedness. There were two significant things about this performance which made it stand out; one was Iago’s totally convincing acting when talking to Othello about Desdemona, and the other was his total presence, always listening intently to pick up extra clues that he can use to his own advantage. He noticed Desdemona’s line about Cassio ‘that came awooing with you’, and that triggered one of his questions to Othello later.

Back to the play: we’re now in Cyprus, and there’s a storm raging, which eventually disperses the Turkish fleet without harming any of the Venetian vessels – how fortunate. Yet again, they saw no need to drench everyone in real water to make the storm ‘real’, thank goodness. Desdemona’s banter with Iago seemed longer this time, and I understood more of it.

The action comes thick and fast now. I spotted that the fateful handkerchief is in Othello’s hand when he and Desdemona head off to bed. Later, Emilia comments that it was Othello’s first gift to Desdemona after their marriage, which explains why Cassio didn’t recognise it. The drinking bout soon had Cassio incapable, and almost without his breeches as well, sitting in a trunk. After the quarrel with Roderigo, Cassio injured Montano, whose wound only bled on the napkin and left his shirt untouched – very helpful to the wardrobe department, I’m sure. Iago’s apparent slip in fingering Michael Cassio as the cause of the rumpus was very well done, and again he acted completely like a man who wanted to help his friend, while actually digging a deeper hole for him to fall into. When he fired Cassio, Othello took his sword and cut through the sash of office which he was wearing – Iago wears a similar sash later on.

We were then ‘treated’ to the music, arranged by Cassio, which Othello is keen to stop. It was an odd combination of a stringed instrument and two woodwind; the tune began with the strings, then one of the woodwind instruments joined in, then the other – the tune was inappropriate and very funny, and I could understand Othello’s preference for silence. There are several short conversations, and then Othello and Iago come on stage just as Cassio leaves. This extended scene is crucial to the play; it’s where Iago begins to plant the seeds of suspicion in Othello’s mind, and all Desdemona’s innocent behaviour begins to look deceitful.

A desk and a chair had been brought on towards the back of the stage, on the left side. Othello is dealing with paperwork, signing various documents, and Iago is folding them and tying them up with ribbon. Desdemona’s badgering of Othello is lively and successful, but once Iago gets going, the mood changes. From loving Desdemona completely, Othello becomes disturbed, then angry, and when Desdemona comes back to fetch him in to dinner, he’s seriously troubled. This is where Desdemona drops the handkerchief, not noticing it till too late. Emilia spots it, however, and actually stands over it to speak the first of her lines. She soon picks it up, and when Iago returns, she’s tucked it into her bodice. He gets it from her, after a little chasing round the stage, and then Othello returns, much disturbed by thoughts of jealousy.

This scene between the two men was very well done. I didn’t hear all of the lines, but the emotional charge was very powerful, and the way Iago was manipulating his victim was chillingly clear. He never let up for a moment. Even his plea to Othello to let Desdemona live was reminding Othello of his threat to ‘tear her all to pieces’. When Othello knelt to make his oath, cutting his hand to emphasise his commitment, Iago seized the opportunity to get even closer to the man he was working to destroy. He also knelt, and made an extravagant promise to serve Othello in his quest for revenge, and even though Othello had been constantly going on about how honest Iago was, this took their relationship to the next level. It was a gamble, but a successful one.

They took the interval after this scene, which was probably just as well, as we needed the break ourselves, never mind what the actors felt. The second half opened with some dramatic lighting, as I remember, but the next scene starts with the light-hearted banter among Desdemona, Emilia and the Clown. One of the things I’ve noticed going through the text to write these notes is how continuous the action is, with each scene depending on the preceding one, so there’s no real chance to change the scenes around. This came across very clearly in this production, with the flow of the story being very strong.

This scene continues with Othello’s request to see the handkerchief, and this is the first time that he’s been angry with Desdemona – it’s a shock to her, and to Emilia. I found myself thinking that all marriages go through their difficult phases; unfortunately, this difficult phase has been created by somebody else, which makes it impossible to resolve.

After Othello has left, Iago and Cassio enter, but Iago soon leaves to check on Othello, full of concern of course. When Desdemona and Emilia are just about to head off, I noticed another head peeping round the corner of the door at the back – it’s Bianca. She takes the handkerchief from Cassio and they leave, only for Iago and Othello to return. This is the scene where Othello’s emotions get so worked up that he collapses. I haven’t always bought into that bit, but this time Othello works himself up so much, fuelled by Iago’s promptings, that it seemed completely believable.

When Othello recovers, Iago sets up his biggest deception yet. With Othello ‘hiding’ by the stairs at the back, and then below the level of the platform, Iago easily gets Cassio to talk about Bianca. Othello is hugely affected by Cassio’s behaviour, especially when Bianca reappears and throws the handkerchief back at Cassio. After Iago and Othello have plotted the death of the two ‘lovers’, Lodovico turns up, and again we see Othello display even greater anger towards Desdemona, even hitting her. It’s a ghastly sight, and still the others are doing their best to make allowances for him.

When Othello questions Emilia, I did wonder why she doesn’t tell him about the handkerchief, given that she’s seen how upset Othello was about it, but of course Desdemona’s already lied about it, so she wouldn’t want to betray her. Later, when Iago is with the two women, I could see Emilia start to think when she talks about ‘some most villainous knave, some base notorious knave, some scurvy fellow’; knowing her husband as she does, and that he was deceived by someone about her, she began to look at him with a dawning realisation that the ‘scurvy knave’ may be very close to home. The women leave and Roderigo comes back, complaining yet again that Iago hasn’t delivered on his promises. He even throws Iago to the ground, causing Iago to show some pretend respect for the lad.

When Desdemona is preparing for bed, the eight-fold star outline on the stage is lit up beautifully. A couple of chests are brought on, and Emilia helps Desdemona out of her clothes, packing them away into one of the chests. When they leave, the light fades, and we’re back on the street with Iago and Roderigo, ready to attack Cassio. The scuffle was short and straightforward, leaving Roderigo dead. Then the bed itself is set up for the climactic scene, with the curtains dropping down from above. It became a little crowded by the end, for both Desdemona and Emilia were lying dead on it, side by side, and Othello managed to fit himself on as well, but at least it would have been comfortable enough by that time, for the two swords and a dagger which had been hidden in it had been removed. Quite the armoury, that bed.

The final scene was very moving. Throughout the play, I’d felt great sympathy for Othello. His suffering was plain to see once the jealous thoughts had taken hold, and it was clear that it was only Iago’s manipulation that put them there. His ‘recovery’ from the jealous pangs once Desdemona was dead led to even more suffering, as he realised what he’d done – not much consolation for her, of course, but still deserving of compassion.

We weren’t the only ones who’d enjoyed ourselves; they received a well-earned standing ovation at the end, and I leapt to my feet as well to join in. I noticed a look between Clarke Peters and Dominic West as they left the stage for the second time – what the hell, they might as well enjoy it, so they came back for another round of bows. How we loved it!

The most amazing thing about this production was the energy; I felt drawn in like never before. I’ve often found large chunks of Othello boring – not so tonight. Even though I couldn’t make out all of the dialogue, I was totally absorbed, and felt exhilarated at the end. The two leads worked really well together, and Alexandra Gilbreath was a much stronger Emilia than usual; the only comparable performance I can remember was Amanda Harris at the RSC quite a few years ago now. With such a young Desdemona, the balance between these four characters was different, but still worked really well.  I’m so glad we had such a great experience for our first visit here – we’ll be back.

© 2011 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

Othello – January 2008


By: William Shakespeare

Directed by: Michael Grandage

Venue: Donmar Theatre

Date: Thursday 31st Janaury 2008

The advantage of the Donmar is that, even at the back of the stalls, we were only four rows away from the action. I do love this theatre.

This production was pretty good too. I haven’t seen Shakespeare done in this more than intimate space before, and it worked pretty well. The down side is that there’s no room to put extra characters on stage to pad out the larger scenes, so here the Duke is in conference with only one other member of Venice’s governing body, a trifle sparse for realism. But it does trim everything down to the essentials, and some aspects of these plays come out all the clearer for that.

Here the staging was minimalist, as you might expect. A grating ran along the floor in front of the back wall, and allowed for some dripping water. There were just a few hints of a canal-based society, in the rings attached to the back wall, for example. There was a lovely effect when some golden curtains dropped down from above to create the bedroom scene – a beautiful mist of golden rain. There were also some canopies used earlier in the play, but as we were in the back row, I didn’t get a very good view of these.

I also didn’t get a good view of James Laurenson as Brabantio, as he was located above us on the balcony for the opening scene. This wasn’t a problem, as most of the dialogue came across perfectly well, and Brabantio was soon downstairs, determined to get his revenge for his lost daughter. It was an OK performance, but again I found I lost a lot of his dialogue during the play. Roderigo was good, a gullible nobleman, but not quite as stupid as some I’ve seen.

Othello’s speech to the court was interesting. I got the distinct impression he’s a real storyteller, embellishing real incidents to get the most drama out of them – a drama queen but with some basis in truth. He also seems to believe the stories he tells, and this suggested to me his readiness to believe other people’s stories. Chiwetel Ejiofor paced his performance very well. At first he just didn’t seem to get what Iago was trying to tell him, showing he was free from any suspicions of Desdemona, then as he grasped what was being said, he was all too ready to embellish it himself. This man has never learned to temper his emotions with thought, unlike Iago, who has more thought than emotion in this production. At times I felt that Othello was falling into the traps as fast as Iago could set them, and some indication of Iago reacting to his good fortune would have been welcome. However.

Back to the earlier scenes. I was aware of Desdemona’s willingness to deceive her father – despite her demureness, there’s a real spirit there, and perhaps less pure innocence than she would have us believe. I did think her love for Othello was pure, but she’s not as above board as is often made out. After all, she prevaricates about the handkerchief instead of coming clean, so she’s certainly capable of lying. I found her less convincing towards the end, although these are difficult scenes for any actress.

The killing worked well, with Othello strangling her on the floor, then putting her on the bed. As we were in the back row, we could easily hear the “noises off” – they were right behind us – including Amelia’s calls which interrupt Othello in the act. This final scene has a strange rhythm. There are lots of long speeches from Othello, while others stand around, amazed, “and know not what to say” (Hermia, Dream), which can seem a little odd. Likewise, Amelia, determined to dish the dirt on her husband, now she knows just what he’s been up to, spends most of her time telling us she’s going to tell all, before getting round to actually doing it. I did feel this time that it was touch and go as to whether the listeners would believe her or her husband, but once he’d stabbed her, it was obvious to everyone who was telling the truth. This interpretation made a lot of sense to me.

So, overall I enjoyed the performance, even though I found myself nodding off a little at the start of the second half (more tired than I realised, and not enough happening on stage). My main concern was the weakness of Iago. He told us that he hated Othello and why, then he did everything he could to bring about his downfall, so I have to believe he meant it, yet I couldn’t have told from his body language or delivery of the lines that he was remotely bothered about the man. I don’t need actors to writhe around in fits of agony, nor go bouncing off walls, but I do think such apparent passion for revenge would give us some tell-tale signs, especially during the soliloquies. There are people who bottle up their emotions, true, but they’re a lot less interesting to see performed on stage than in other media – we’re there, for God’s sake, so give us something to work with! Anyway, the lines were spoken well, and I understood from those what was going on inside this Iago, so that will have to do.

Almost forgot – the play started very abruptly, as is appropriate, without the usual dimming of the lights. Just Iago and Roderigo rushing on, yelling out to Brabantio. Nice touch, and it meant we were all awake for the opening scene.

© 2008 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

Othello – July 2007


By: William Shakespeare

Directed by: Wilson Milam

Venue: Shakespeare’s Globe

Date: Tuesday 17th july 2007

At least this was the actual play that we ascribe to Shakespeare! On that score, it was a huge improvement on the Complete Works version. The problems here were mainly lack of clarity and projection, coupled with a staging that led to the majority of the important bits being spoken while the actors involved had their backs to us. I found I could only make out about a third of the lines – and that’s being generous. However, there were quite a few good points to praise.

One of the best was the part of Rodorigo, played by Sam Crane. He gave a beautifully detailed performance as the gullible, romantic, besotted fool, whom Iago easily parted from his money. To paraphrase how Steve saw it, this man had “loser” tattooed on his forehead at birth. He pouted, he snivelled, he flounced out, he despaired, he enthused, he did everything with such total presence that I can safely say this was the best Rodrigo we’re ever likely to get.

Another good performance came from Paul Lloyd as Othello’s servant, known to those of us who read programs as Clown. He kept up a running battle with the musicians, from the pre-opening where he attempts to make his “turn off your mobile phones”, etc. speech, through telling them to play the silent pieces only, and even after the interval, where they’re sitting on his basking spot. There wasn’t much to this part, but he gave us more than was there. Of course, the musicians fought back, and didn’t shut up when he yelled at them. His announcement was one of those stop/start duels with a trombonist that set us up nicely for the play itself, which is, after all, pretty dark.

Other than these, the performances were fine, but nothing special. Eamonn Walker as Othello wasn’t so clear as the others, and Tim McInnerny as Iago had that phlegm buzz to his voice when he upped the volume that made it harder to distinguish the words. Apart from that, I could hear most of the lines provided the actors weren’t pointed away from us, but as I said earlier, that happened rather too much for my liking. A lot of the staging seemed very static compared with other plays we’ve seen on this stage, and while that may be partly down to the play itself, I’m sure more could have been done to vary the actors’ movements.

Other points I noticed were that Cassio assumes Othello will send him to fetch Desdemona, and is effectively ignored by Othello when he sends Iago instead. Desdemona’s speech about the different loves she has for father and husband is equally applicable to Cordelia’s situation, and I found myself spotting several echoes of other plays. Amelia’s condemnation of men’s behaviour was roundly delivered, although the resulting mood change back to Desdemona’s sadness was a bit jarring.

The drinking scene was well done. The men sat round a table, and Iago leapt up onto his bench to sing a couple of silly songs, in English, apparently. The fights were good, and the scene where Rodrigo tries to kill Cassio was superb. They played it as if in a blackout (the wind was so strong at times that various lanterns and torches blew out anyway), so the fight was a slow motion grope rather than cut and thrust. Very entertaining. The final dance was also good fun, especially as Iago refused to join in, apart from a possible twitch of the shoulders at the end?

There were some other distractions that took my attention away from the stage, such as a flash going off, and one of the stewards in front of the stage doing some gesturing to another steward while Iago was giving us one of his scheming soliloquies. Most unfortunate timing. Also, the number of people coming and going was higher than last week, and as the door was right behind us, we were treated to a fair number of squeals and clatters during the play.

All in all, I was mostly not engaged by this production, but I’m glad I saw the good bits.

© 2007 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me

Othello – April 2006


By: A bastard child by William Shakespeare out of Feridun Zaimoglu

Directed by: Luk Perceval

Venue: RST

Date: Friday 28th April 2006

Where do I start? I was so angry with this production that I nearly left – some people did – not because it had been adapted from the original, but because so much had been lost in the adaptation that it was scarcely worth including it in a Shakespeare season, never mind a Complete Works Festival.

This was a nihilistic version of some aspects of the Othello that Shakespeare wrote. The light of Shakespeare’s play – Desdemona – was here believable as a potential slut, always draping herself provocatively over Othello and dragging him off to bed at every opportunity. She wasn’t actually played as a slut, and sexual game-playing with her husband doesn’t make her a lascivious wanton, but the grace, the dignity and the beauty of character had all gone. Take away the light of this play and all you get is dark, depressing sludge, and plenty of it. Admittedly, only for two hours (straight, without an interval – maybe they didn’t want to give the audience a chance to escape?). There were also a number of longueurs, such as Iago spending several minutes sweeping up bits of broken bottle following the drunken brawl that got Cassio into trouble. These actors were good, but not good enough to fill this gap with meaningful exchanges or development of character. Another long pause was filled only by the on-stage piano player, thrashing his piano vehemently, presumably to expand the range of sounds produced – good enough as far as it went, but it had nothing to add to the play or its performance for me.

Good points (there were a number). Interesting staging. Bare stage, apart from two pianos, a black grand piano resting on an upturned white one – good symbolism and a good focal point off which to bounce the acting. For example, Desdemona asleep, curled up in the space between the two instruments – touching and simple.

Stark lighting – an open doorway with light shafting from the left at the start shifted gradually to light shafting through a doorway on the right by the end. The actors were in plain modern dress and used no props other than a crate of beer bottles and a handkerchief. With all locations expunged, the performance becomes solely about the interactions between the characters.

There were some great performances. These actors know their job, and were giving it their all. Very athletically too, at times – Iago really did have to chase Amelia round the stage to get the hanky! On a quieter note, the scene where Iago had sidled his way into Othello’s confidence culminated in the final damning revelations being whispered in Othello’s ear, with the audience only hearing Othello’s responses. This replaced Othello’s overhearing and misunderstanding of Cassio’s innocent bragging about his own mistress, which gives him his final “proof” – here it was all down to Iago’s lies. A loss of subtlety, but it did keep the number of actors down and was well performed.

Casting a white actor unequivocally as Othello was bold and, to my mind, perfectly acceptable. Too many people seem to “ghettoise” the play nowadays, yet the situations portrayed are relevant to many times and cultures and do not always need to be interpreted literally on stage. The only ‘person of colour’ was the actress playing Amelia – a strange choice, done deliberately to generate the same feeling of discomfort the director experienced at a football match when some of his fellow supporters expressed racist sentiments. Sadly, this experience did not translate for me as the RSC, among many theatre companies in the UK, have practised colour-blind casting for so long that I wouldn’t have known the choice was deliberate if I hadn’t been told.

There were technical problems, too. It wasn’t possible to read the surtitles and really take in what was happening on stage. The adaptation was in German, and the actors were encouraged by the director to improvise if they felt like it, so the surtitles were stopping dead at some points and going like the clappers at others trying to keep up! But the main problem lay in the adaptation itself. The German author (of Turkish descent) who adapted the play had cut so much that it hardly seems worthwhile staging it. His constant use of swearing wasn’t out of place, given the military setting, but Will manages to convey the setting perfectly well without recourse to foul language all the time (though he used it when he wanted to). And the wonderful language Will does use is virtually absent here; just a couple of passing references in the surtitles, one or two phrases to remind us of what we’re missing.

And what we miss! This version of the play was basically over when Othello killed his bride – no revelations from Amelia, no remorse, and no capture of Iago. No context. And I find myself wondering what someone who had never seen the play before would have made of it, or whether they could even have understood it!

I managed to put my grumbles aside, and hackles down for long enough to stay for the post-show discussion, which illuminated for me some of the difficulties I had with the production. The director seemed to think he was directing an adaptation based on Shakespeare’s work, yet couldn’t remember the lines in Shakespeare’s version that had triggered his particular interpretation, namely that Amelia was the most important character in the play, and her hurt is what leads to her betraying Iago (which she doesn’t get a chance to do in this version). Perhaps there were problems in translation, but that’s how I understood what was said, and from that I suspected that the adaptor and director had been sidetracked into their own preoccupations and lost the expansion that comes from working with Shakespeare’s text in full. Instead they had contracted to a negative focus, which certainly appealed to a number of that night’s audience, but which failed to engage me emotionally, mentally or imaginatively, a difficult trick with one of Will’s plays. The director also made the point that the play shows how much words affect our minds. True, but you don’t have to hack the play to bits to get that across; the original version can do that, and even better!

But the main tragedy was to lose all that beautiful language! A perceptive young lady sitting behind me, who had just found out that we were going to see an adaptation instead of the real thing, asked her neighbour before the start “Isn’t Shakespeare’s language the whole point?” In this case, yes it is.

© 2006 Sheila Evans at ilovetheatre.me