Friday, July 12, 2019

'Measure for Measure' by William Shakespeare

12 July 2019

‘Measure for Measure’ has never been one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. I last saw it at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon in 2012 (reviewed here in January 2012) which was the first time it really held my attention. But Gregory Doran’s new production for the Royal Shakespeare Company, which we saw at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon last Thursday, has finally won me over to the play. Apart from moving the setting to 1900s Vienna, this is a very straightforward production which concentrates on the acting. Antony Byrne (who I saw as Antony in the RSC production of ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ reviewed here in December 2017) commands the stage as the Duke and Claire Price (who was so brilliant as Petruchia in Justin Audibert’s RSC production of ‘The Taming of The Shrew’, reviewed here in March 2019) provides the moral voice of conscience as Escalus. Sandy Grierson (Touchstone in ‘As You Like It’, reviewed here in April 2019) manages to make Angelo both loathsome and sympathetic, and Lucy Phelps (Rosalind in that same recent production of ‘As You Like It’) brings an earnest disbelief to Isabella’s reaction to Angelo’s indecent proposal that makes us see the play in a post #metoo context.

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