Silk Street Theatre, Barbican
Declan Donnellan / Nick Ormerod
Orlando James (Leontes) Natalie Radmall Quirke (Hermione)
RM, NM, RW, CC, WW, Matilda W, Roland W
This was riveting. Neither pious on the one hand nor indulgent of a director's fetish on the other. It took liberties with the text, but in service to the play. Proper theatre. And such an extraordinary play, containing a bit of everything, switching from tragedy to comedy without a hiccough, maintaining a current of high emotional power throughout. There were moments when i found myself not breathing, and 'Oh, she's warm' nearly undid me Orlando James's Leontes was exceptionally persuasive in all his extreme passions - for his friend, in his jealousy, in his pain, and in redemption. A tincture of camp added a theatricality which did not upset. NRQ's Hermione, sometimes very quiet, had exactly the right degree of dignity and indignation. The club throughly enjoyed itself. NM and RM were a little snooty - perhaps rightly so - about the high jinks of the sheep-shearing festival (done as a kind of game show, and enjoyable), which denied us some of Perdita and Florizel's sweetest a-courtin', and none of us could really hear Joy Richardson as Paulina. Sam Woolf as Florizel was very well spoken (in both senses), but the real star was the company itself, which gave this production verve and punch, and left one feeling invigorated on leaving the theatre.