DEBT, racism, love and isolation. These themes are still as relevant today as they were when Shakespeare wrote about them in his play Merchant of Venice.And they are brilliantly brought to life in a fantastic production of the play which is now on at Shakespeare's Globe.
Created especially for young people it has been commissioned by the Bankside theatre's education department for this year's Playing Shakespeare With Deutsche Bank project which aims to support the teaching of the national curriculum for English at KS3 and KS4.
And it was heartening to see so many young people in the audience to see the play brought to life.
Bassanio is in love with the wealthy Portia but needs money to woo her. On the advice of his friend Antonio, he goes to the moneylender Shylock. Shylock agrees to give him the money on condition that if it's not repaid on time, Shylock will take a pound of Antonio's flesh.
Bassanio successfully woos Portia but then tragedy strikes when the money is not repaid in full at the allotted time and Shylock demands his bond.
It is then up to Portia and her maid Nerissa, desguised as a lawyer and his clerk, to save the day.
Stripped back to 100 minutes, it is a fast-paced, energetic and spririted production retaining all of the Bard's language but designed for those aged 11 and over.
The cast is brilliant and full of enthusiasm really playing to the gallery, encouraging the audience to get involved and obviously loving every minute of it.
Among the stand out performances are Shylock played by Ognen Drangovski and Catherine Bailey as Portia.
As an introduction to Shakespeare this is about as good as it gets.
Merchant Of Venice is on at Shakespeare's Globe on Bankside until March 29 with school performances every weekday at 2pm and free public performances on Saturday March 22 and Saturday March 29.
Call the box office on 020 7401 9919