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Tony Grist

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The BBC Cymbeline (1983) [Mar. 2nd, 2008|10:15 am]
Tony Grist
A staid production- with rather lovely visuals based on the work of 17th century artists. Frans Hals and Vermeer predominate, the Le Nain brothers get a look in, Cloten has been dressed by Velasquez.

It's as if the producer had said, "This is a wild, wild thing; let's tame it".

Helen Mirren's Imogen is too passive for my taste. Robert Lindsay plays Iachimo as a dangerous smoothie. Michael Pennington's Posthumus is soft-spoken and affecting.

Certain key moments are quite badly fudged. The scenes in the cave are cut to the point where they barely make emotional sense. "Fear No more" becomes a musical interlude (even though the text explicity states it should be spoken not sung) with the brothers obviously lip-synching.  The transition into Posthumus' dream is so abrupt as to be bewildering; if I hadn't read the play I'd have been wondering who the hell these people were.  Jupiter- beautifully voiced by the great Michael Hordern- should have been more clearly identified as the anomalous supernatural being he is; gods- even 17th century gods- do not wear tights and ruffs- and you don't win at Shakespeare by being embarrassed at his flights of fancy. Show this producer (Elijah Moshinsky) a coup de theatre and he winces.   

The last scene- with its reunions and reconciliations- is so moving I had tears in my eyes.  Shakespeare is really out on the edge here; nudge him and he'll tumble into absurdity. A very fine cast makes sure this doesn't happen.

[User Picture]From: saare_snowqueen
2008-03-02 01:34 pm (UTC)

Elijah Moshinsky

When I still lived in London I saw a few operas directed by the above. They were - to put it generously - far out. I always got the feeling that the man harbors a deep resentment of the original authors and composers and takes on a project determined to show the world that He can make it better....... and thereby making a pair of whore's knickers of the thing.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-03-02 02:35 pm (UTC)

Re: Elijah Moshinsky

This production could have done with being a lot more far-out. Cymbeline is an extravagent fairy-tale with a preposterous plot and Moshinsky tries to make it as naturalistic as possible.

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[User Picture]From: jubal51394
2008-03-02 02:01 pm (UTC)

This reads like a pan but...

You've so piqued my curiosity that I'm bound to seek it out... somehow, somewhere!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2008-03-02 02:39 pm (UTC)

Re: This reads like a pan but...

I've got a quarrel with some of the production choices but the acting is wonderful.
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