Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre

London. Tuesday 18-September-2018.

A bit of culture, a Shakespearean double bill this week. First up Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre starring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo. Three and a half hours of ancient Egypt and Rome. I'd forgotten how long the Bard's plays are, you certainly get your money's worth.

At the start of the play the director came out to inform us that this was the first night of a new staging and to bear with us if there were any glitches. There were some amazing moving parts to the scenery - swimming pools and battleships - but they all seemed to rotate smoothy.

Photo by Johan Persson

Photo by Johan Persson

It always takes me a few minutes to adjust my ear to the Shakespeare's dialogue but once attuned it was fine. It is all dense stuff and you have to pay attention. The reviews all seem to agree that this is a fine production.

Antony and Cleopatra review – Okonedo and Fiennes are a magnificent match,
4 out of 5 stars. Olivier, London.
Simon Godwin directs a terrific and epic National Theatre production, filled with passion and delusion, writes Michael Billington in the Guardian:
"Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo are at the top of their game as the self-deluded lovers, and director Simon Godwin proves yet again that he combines a contemporary eye with a fastidious ear for Shakespeare’s language. [...] this is a fine production that reminds us that Shakespeare’s play is death-haunted from the start and that its self-glorifying lovers exist in a dream of passion." Full review...
Antony and Cleopatra, Olivier, National Theatre review: Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo offer blazing star power,
4 out of 5 stars.
Simon Godwin's production of the Shakespearean tragedy proves to be an astute and moving work, writes Paul Taylor in the Independent:
"Simon Godwin’s astute and moving modern-dress production of Antony and Cleopatra succeeds in conveying the cultural differences between Rome and Egypt without ever resorting to the condescension of kitsch.  This is a penetrating and considered account of a complex, twisty play. That it comes across with such walloping emotional immediacy is thanks to the blazing star power of Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo." Full review...
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