BrumHour saw Measure for Measure at the invitation of The RSC.
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
Measure for Measure at The RSC
Written by William Shakespeare, Directed by Gregory Doran
Measure for Measure is at The RSC’s Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon until 29th August and examines at how authority can abuse power for personal gain.
The Duke of Vienna (Antony Byrne) has given up trying to control the city and enlists Angelo (Sandy Grierson) to be his deputy, whilst the The Duke disguises himself as a monk! One of the first tasks Angelo takes on is dealing with Claudio (James Cooney) and Juliet (Amy Trigg) his pregnant fiancée. Set in the 1900s this is still a community scandal and Claudio is told he will be executed for his out of wedlock lust!
Claudio’s sister Isabella (Lucy Phelps), a trainee nun, pleads with Angelo to relent and allow Claudio to live and marry Juliet, but this arrangement comes at a price. Isabella must become Angelo’s wife.
This is a dark comedic story, the dialogue is rich and playful, and it needs to be carefully heard to interpret its meanings. It demonstrates that very little probably has changed for the roles enforced on women between 1604 when the play was first performed and the early 1900s when this play is set.
The three sided stage uses huge projections to demonstrate locations and a series of two metre panels line the stage at the back. They act as doors, mirrors, windows and at times represent the imagination of those on stage.
Standing out among the cast is David Ajao as Pompey a pimp who tears up the dialogue, Joseph Arkley as the slimey gent about town, Lucio, Lucy Phelps as the strong and vulnerable Isabella and our leading man Antony Byrne as the extremely thinly disguised Duke.
This probably isn’t the right place to start if you are going to your first Shakespeare but it is great if you love powerful drama.
It is always quite magical to sit in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre regardless of what you are getting to see so I look forward to every visit.
Measure for Measure is a the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at The RSC until 29th August. Book tickets here: rsc.org.uk/measure-for-measure
This isn’t a sponsored post.
When not writing about theatre for BrumHour, or producing Interval Theatre for Brum Radio (Tuesdays at 3pm) brumradio.com/intervaltheatre,
Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and claiming to be at the gym. And tweeting about Birmingham for #BrumHour.