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Posts Tagged ‘George Wilkins’

It seems that the current view is that this late Shakespeare play was in fact a collaboration with George Wilkins, with Will writing the last three acts. It’s another odd concoction, but fascinating nonetheless, and like the other two in this Sam Wanamaker Playhouse winter season, it benefits greatly from the suitability of the venue. Somehow, these plays seems less implausible and less preposterous in this setting!

Pericles, Prince of Tyre, is ‘on the run’ from the King of Antioch and his henchmen, having discovered the widowed king’s incest with his daughter when he was solving the riddle for her hand in marriage. His journey takes him from Antioch back to Tyre and on to Tarsus, to Pentapolis (after a shipwreck) where he wins the king’s daughter’s hand in marriage in a tournament, back to Tyre (through a storm, during which his new bride dies giving birth to their child) but diverted to Tarsus again where he leaves his new daughter in the care of the governor and his wife. Fourteen years later his daughter is abducted and sold to a brothel in Mytilene, whose governor rescues her, which leads to her reunion with her father and not so dead mother. Phew!

Dominic Dromgoole’s staging is simple and nifty and it races along, challenging you to keep up and keep breathing.  It’s helped by a narrator who introduces the play and each act (a terrific Sheila Reid). It switches mood often and the incest and rather graphic brothel scene make it more than a bit shocking. Yet, it feels completely at home in the candlelit SWP. There’s lovely music from Claire van Kampen, played by an onstage quartet and a fine 14-piece ensemble with a lot of doubling-up.

Three shows in and I’m thoroughly enjoying this late play season. Bring on The Tempest!

 

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