Friday, November 27, 2015

'The Winter's Tale' by William Shakespeare

27 November 2015

On Thursday I was at Leighton Buzzard Theatre to see the live screening of the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company production of 'The Winter's Tale' from the Garrick Theatre in London. It was great to see Branagh on stage again: his performance as Leontes reminded me of seeing him in Chekhov’s ‘Ivanov’  (reviewed here in September 2008). He is a very physical performer, his whole body crumpling as he discovers the devastating news of his son's death. It was also wonderful to see Judi Dench as Paulina, exuding a moral authority but also a mischievous humour. Kenneth Branagh and Rob Ashford previously co-directed the 2013 Manchester International Festival production of Macbeth (reviewed here in July 2013). Their 'Winter's Tale' felt like a fairly old-fashioned production, without many bells and whistles, with the focus on the acting – which was of a universally high standard. And the 'exit pursued by a bear' – so often a risible moment – used video projection to make it savagely frightening.

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