RSC, RST, Stratford Upon Avon
Runs: 2h 30m, one interval, till 04 09 14

Review: Alexander Ray Edser, 29 07 14

Slow burn start, but worth the wait.
TWO GENTLEMENT OF VERONA is a young man’s play. You can tell, watching it. First of all, and particularly in the opening scenes, the humour seems contrived, or lacks ease, most often in the laboured word-play. And, second, the love affairs, trust, duplicity of the two young gentlemen, feel like a young(ish) man exploring these complex aspects of life.

Simon Godwin imbues his production with a youthful energy which supports the telling well and, as we move into the second half, is extremely effective. Michael Marcus (Valentine) and Mark Arends (Proteus) complement each other – the former youthfully up-front, the latter slightly more private and less street-wise. They valiantly work their way through the early scenes and burst into full-bodied life as the play moves onwards.

Godwin orchestrates the changes of mood without compromising; it works well and we are drawn into the play’s world. The switch in tone owes much to the performance of Marcus and Jonny Glynn (Duke of Milan) in their argument scene. Nicely enhanced by Arends’s quiet cunning. The forest sequence with some excellent characterisations from the banished brigade are marvellous.

Godwin’s insertion of partying and clubbing scenes in the first half have a slight air of extra to requirement but there are many delightful touches in the production. In particular the plotting between Julia and Lucetta (Pearl Chanda and Leigh Quinn) which happens as a result of drinking a couple of bottles of (excellent no doubt) Italian red.

Roger Morlidge brings a pleasant lugubrious humour to Launce and Martin Bassindale is a superb Speed. Mossup (who has a most impressive biog in the programme) misses neither a beat nor a wag as Crab.

Mark Arends – Proteus
Elliot Barnes-Worrell – Outlaw
Martin Bassindale – Speed
Pearl Chanda – Julia
Nicholas Gerard-Martin – Turio
Robert Gilbert – Outlaw
Jonny Glynn – The Duke of Milan
Molly Gromadzki – Host/Singer
Youssef Kerkour – Sir Eglamour
Sarah MacRae – Silvia
Michael Marcus – Valentine
Roger Morlidge – Launce
Mossup – Crab the Dog
Keith Osborn – Antonio
Leigh Quinn – Lucetta
Simon Yadoo – Panthino/Outlaw

Director – Simon Godwin
Designer – Paul Wills
Lighting – Bruno Poet
Music – Michael Bruce
Sound – Christopher Shutt
Movement – Jonathan Goddard

2014-07-30 21:59:17

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