"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Monday, April 27, 2015
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
MERCHANT OF VENICE
colourful picture of Cinquecento Venice by the Thames: a lively
carnival with drums and masks, torches and vendible maids, squibs and
a Masque of Cupid, pimping and anti-semitic violence.
to a fine production from
with the stories clearly told, the audience involved. Beautifully
designed too [though it remains my view that this stage needs no set]
with a bronze gauze curtain
to suggest Belmont, and sumptuous frocks all round.
performances are neatly tailored to the space, too. Daniel
strong Antonio, feisty charm from Rachel
Pickup and Dorothea Myer-Bennettas
Portia and her maid, the lawyer's clerk. The
first suitor, Morocco, is given great presence by Scott
got up to look like the
ambassador to the Virgin Queen.Naturally,
the comedy is very
much to the fore, with an amusing Aragon from Christopher
a great turn from Stefan Adegbola as Launcelot Gobbo, actually making
his quandary funny, with the help of two groundlings as Devil and
Conscience. Old Gobbo, though, presumably beyond rescue, remains
there's a deep,
careful Shylock from Jonathan Pryce, in his first Globe role; despite
his meticulous business with scales, weight and knife, he elicits the
sympathy of the crowd, so that the legal quibble seems a little
harsh, and Gratiano's taunting petty and base. His excellent Jessica
is his own daughter, Phoebe Pryce.
the end, in contrast to the riotous opening, and instead of the
traditional jig, Jessica's Jewish lament, and a solemn procession for
Shylock's painful Christian Credo.