Posts Tagged ‘Haluk Bilinger’

Only three this week (work up north!), starting with a bizarre Japanese Coriolanus. This was hard to follow; the title character seemed to have a basket over his head most of the time and he was accompanied by just a chorus of four. Again I read the synopsis before it started and followed the scene descriptions on surtitles, but I’m afraid I couldn’t make head or tail of it. Perhaps having seen a handful of Ninagawa’s epic Japanese Shakespeare stagings (and another this week!) I was expecting too much. A disappointment…..

…..unlike the Gujarati All’s Well That Ends Well, which was a huge treat. Relocated to early 20th Century India, it seemed completely at home. India’s caste / class tradition and attitudes to marriage somehow gave the play a particular relevance. There was some lovely musical accompaniment, lots of songs sung in character, some elegant dancing & lovely costumes, but above all a set of captivating performances. It was a sunny afternoon, and the show was as bright as the day – a charming, uplifting confection much like the Georgian As You Like It of the previous week. One of the best!

I wasn’t sure about the Turkish Anthony & Cleopatra when it started, There were a lot of distractions in a packed theatre and I was struggling to concentrate. I was won over by its pace and the quality of acting. The actors playing both title roles were excellent. Haluk Bilinger (a former EastEnder!) had great presence and authority as Anthony and Zerrin Tekindor played Cleopatra like a vamp on heat – they had terrific chemistry. Kevork Malikyan (also known to us from both TV and cinema screens) was an excellent Enobarbus, but I thought some of the smaller roles (messengers and attendants) were a bit overplayed. The simple staging (with excellent costumes) was very effective, particularly the sea battles played out by men swirling water-filled balls on chains – despite the fact I got wet (again!). No gimmicks. No liberties. Good storytelling.

So now it’s the last week. A Hebrew Merchant, Spanish Henry VIII, Afghan Comedy of Errors and a German Timon. I will have escaped London for Wales before the French get their hands on Much Ado or the Lithuanians gives us their Hamlet, but I will fit in Ninagawa’s Japanese Cymbeline at the Barbican! I wonder how the scenes in Wales will be played?…….

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