A PLAY which is often referred to as Shakespeare's lost play is currently enjoying a short run at the Rose Theatre in Park Street.
Cardenio has been attributed to Shakespeare, Thomas Middleton and John Fletcher since an anonymous manuscript was submitted to the censor in 1611. Debate has abounded since but there is still no clear definitive proof of who actually did write it.
Whoever penned the words, it is without doubt a fascinating and disturbing play that deals with love, lust, obsession, amorality, suspicion and ultimately revenge and has many of the hallmarks of the three playwrights.
The current production, by the Aporia Theatre Collective is set in feudal Japan with the cast dressed as Samurai warriors or wearing kimonos.
Cardenio, in love with Luscinda, is banished by the tyrannical King Fernando who wants her for himself. Despite his protestations of love she wants nothing to do with him and flees to be with Cardenio.
The King tries all the evil tricks in the book to win her love but to no avail and with each dastardly idea that goes wrong and her rejection, he descends further into madness.
Meanwhile, in a sub plot, Anselmo wants to test the fidelity of his wife Camilla but she ends up falling in love and being seduced by Lotario, the man sent to test her.
The play is bloody and by the end the stage is littered with bodies.
The setting is amazing, with the actors on a small staged area overlooking some of the excavated remains of this Elizabethan theatre which is picked out with blue lights.
The young cast are impressive particularly Ryan Burkwood as the King who displays a jittery nervousness and tyrannical anger while simultaneously getting more mad by the second.
It is a great production and for a play not often performed, catch it while you can.
Cardenio is on at the Rose Theatre, Park Street until Saturday, September 29. Tickets cost £12. Call the box office on 020 7261 9565.