Saturday, November 18, 2006


"My father named me Autolycus; who being, as I am, littered under Mercury, was likewise a snapper-up of unconsidered trifles."

The Swan was transformed for this production; the ground floor seats have vanished to create a promenade space, with a curving ramp to the circle level and a revealed space across the full length of the back of the stage. Promenaders can dance with each other and, if they get lucky, the cast, share in the shepherds' feast, and become successively the jury and the sheep. This is a brilliant production, a glorious leaving present from Dominic Cooke [who becomes the Artistic Director of The Royal Court in the New Year] , one that makes dramatic and coherent sense of the two contrasting halves of the play. The performances are without exception excellent.

Michael Billington wrote in The Guardian,
"...the play's climax is overwhelming. There is genuine wit in the treatment of the reported father-daughter reunion as a live outside broadcast. And the reconciliation of Lesser's penitent Leontes and Fleetwood's wronged Hermione prompts one's tears as her statue comes to life. Is there a more moving moment in all Shakespeare? "

Personal Star Rating [out of five] *****


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