Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

The BBC Cymbeline (1983)

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.
  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.