|The BBC Cymbeline (1983)
||[Mar. 2nd, 2008|10:15 am]
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.