Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Antony And Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra is one of the sleekest, fastest plays in the canon- and none suffered more from the post Jacobean slide into mere theatrical spectacle. It's a political thriller. It absolutely doesn't need to be slowed down with sphinxes and sea-fights and processions. There's a lot of it- a lot of text- but none of it asking to be cut. Scenes are mostly short- with people habitually walking on mid-conversation and being brief and gnomic. We dodge about the world (alas for the unitities) like we' re in a James Bond movie. I read it last night and was gripped. Bedtime came and went. 

It's also one of the most beautiful. I can't think of any other which maintains such altitude for so long a stretch as Antony and Cleopatra does in its final scenes.  The others have their great moments, their poetic flights. Antony and Cleopatra has its great half hour.

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