Measure for Measure
The Bard, updated by Theatre Oikos and with a star turn by Hannah Dalton
This article is from 2013.
Theatre Oikos' take on one of the densest of Shakespeare's works is vibrant and zippy, if a little uneven. The action takes place in a present-day London underworld setting, populated by pimps and gangsters. As with so many of the Bard's tales, a kiss can mean betrayal and trusting those you love can be an act of folly. So it is when 'The Duke' (Harry Gaff) goes on holiday, entrusting twisted nephew Angelo (Harry Stopps) with the family business. It goes without saying that sex and corruption are lurking around every corner.
Counter to this is the religious influence of Isabella, a novice nun, brilliantly portrayed by Hannah Dalton, who is willing to sacrifice herself when her brother Claudio (Piers Darby) is facing execution. She is the moral centre of the piece, a calm antidote to the rampant egotism of the men surrounding her.
It’s a bold decision indeed to turn Shakespeare into a gangster tale, and the fresh-faced ensemble has energy and sass to spare. With a few tunes from Arctic Monkeys, a pinch of street slang and sovereign rings, the Bard’s been updated
Zoo Southside, 662 6892, Until 10 Aug, £7.50 (£5).