Shakespeare’s Cymbeline

This article is from 2013

Shakespeare’s Cymbeline

An outing for one of the Bard’s less celebrated scripts

Full marks to FreeRange Productions for bringing one of the bard’s least performed works to the festival, and in an admirably clear and concise stripping-back that focuses with precision on the play’s central themes of jealously and the loss of innocence. It’s an odd beast, set in Celtic Britain and combining a vicious test of marital fidelity, a long-hidden secret identity and a bloody Roman invasion – all to rather uneasy effect.

And in truth it needs a production stronger than FreeRange’s rather patchy affair to pull it off convincingly. The acting is a bit hit and miss – Finty Kelly is strident but strong as the long-suffering heroine Imogen, and Jake Wilson as faithful servant Pisanio delivers his lines with beautiful, clipped enunciation, but Alex Panetta as hero Posthumus and Mark McKenzie as the King are pretty lacklustre. Anna Driftmier’s inventive set makes the most of its wire fence panels, but Chris Snow’s direction lets the pace flag too often. There’s much to be admired here, but the production could do with a hearty injection of passion and urgency.

Just the Tonic at the Caves, 556 5375, until 25 Aug (not 13), £7–£9.

Shakespeare's Cymbeline

FreeRange Productions. In a rare performance of one of Shakespeare's darkest and most intense plays, anger, jealousy and lust are intimately explored in a powerful new production. Against the backdrop of a great war, young lovers fight for love, pride and survival. Cymbeline is a brutal tragedy, passionate romance and…