Tuesday, 22 December 2015

REVIEW - Cymbeline, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

FOUR stars

ANYONE who hasn’t been to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse really should. The smaller sibling to the Globe is a thing of beauty, and even more so when illuminated by candles.
It is currently hosting a season of Shakespeare's late plays and with which Dominic Dromgoole has chosen to end his 10-year tenure as artistic director of the Bankside theatre.
The second in the season is Cymbeline and for anyone not familiar with the piece, there is a lot going on!
There are lost children, a cross dressing heroine, a decapitated man, lies, deception, travel, banishment, war, trust issues and a lot more besides.
In a nutshell, Innogen, daughter of King Cymbeline, has secretly married Posthumous, something which angers her father and wicked stepmother as they had planned to marry her off to her step brother Cloten.
Postumous is exiled to Italy and there he boasts about his wife’s virtue and her beauty. The villainous Iachimo decides this is too good to leave alone and lays a wager on her fidelity.
And it seems he will stop at nothing to prove that Innogen has been unfaithful, even stealing into her bedroom in a trunk and ravishing her with his eyes, something that in this production is utterly creepy.
When Innogen finds out Posthumous thinks she has betrayed him with Iachimo, she fleas to the woods, dresses up as a boy and takes refuge in a cave. Unbeknownst to her it is inhabited by her two brothers who had been lost 20 years previously.
In typical Shakespeare fashion, there follows plenty of too-ing and fro-ing between characters - not least the scene in which Innogen, disguised as a boy, wakes up to find herself lying next to a headless corpse who she mistakenly believes to be her husband - before order is restored.
It is a somewhat complex play but this production directed by Sam Yates is a gem with the humour brought out to great effect.
Globe regular Christopher Logan as the physician Cornelius is a delight and really plays to the gallery.
Eugene O’Hare is suitably creepy as the villain Iachimo and Jonjo O’Neill and Emily Barber are great as Posthumous and Innogen.

Cymbeline is at the Sam Wanamker Playhouse, Bankside until April 21. Tickets from £10. Visit www.shakespearesglobe.com or call the box office on 020 7401 9919.

No comments:

Post a Comment