Stratford-upon-Avon train station has services north to Birmingham and south to London Marylebone (via Warwick, Leamington Spa, Banbury and Bicester North). Taxis are available at Warwick and Leamington Spa stations. Stratford-upon-Avon, located in Warwickshire, is just a short drive from Junction 15 of the M40.
|Booking From:||Saturday, 10th April 2010|
|Booking Until:||Saturday, 28th August 2010|
|Matinees:||Selected dates 1pm|
|Evenings:||Selected dates 7.15pm|
Looking back you can see why they thought it was a good idea at the time: a Cleopatra who is dangerous (passionate, extravagant, and slightly unbalanced) paired with an Antony torn between his duty to Rome (Augustus, family, decorum, control) and the lures of Egypt personified by its Queen. But Hawkins’ Cleopatra plays the part too like a character in pantomime, over-acting too much for many tastes. Having said that, some people also seemed to feel it was an inspiring performance. I didn’t.
I felt that Cleopatra, as Hawkins portrayed her, couldn’t rule a Girl Guides troop, let alone Egypt.
I have been coming to the RSC for over 40 years, but I have never seen so many people from the audience silently slip away at the interval. A Stratford friend has told me that Hawkins was once applauded during Cleopatra's suicide and that Hawkins’ personal curtain-calls have been abandoned, as they met with silence. I stayed until the end, but I could sympathise with the defectors.
Poor casting. One of the most well known love stories just didnt gel. Where was the bold Queen of Egypt. It was more of a farce than one of Wills great plays.
Our review can only cover the first half as we left the theatre in the interval - we had had enough!
While the RSC has successfully set many Shakespeare plays out of their historical time, their use of modern uniforms and weapons here really detracted from the story and failed to gel with the words.
So Antony injured his hand in rehearsal ...from the gun he was firing!!! Maybe divine judgement on the director? The principals often garbled their words, and this combined with Kathryn's accent caused us to miss a very significant proportion of the script. I have studied the play and know some of the speeches off by heart, and yet I still could not tell what was being said.
We were sitting in the front row of the "Superseats" in the centre of the circle so felt sorry for people in less favourable seats...except that they will have paid less to see this poor production.
Some scenes lost their meaning and degenerated into farce through inappropriate direction, e.g. Cleopatra's fishing in the Nile, her meetings with the unwelcome messenger and the totally ridiculous sea battle with paper boats! And why did the soldiers sometimes have to climb ladders or drift into the audience area?
This failed to add anything to the play and was, in fact, a distraction. A great disappointment........
This was an extremely poor production; in all the key characters it was miscast leading to unconvincing performances. With evidently poor direction and some curious choreography it did a disservice to Shakespeare and must jeopardise the reputation of the RSC.
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