Venue: The Young Vic
By: Edward Bond
It’s always a pleasure to see Patrick
Stewart on stage. Over the last few years he’s given us many treats including
an extraordinary Macbeth and insightful interpretations of Prospero and
Cast includes: Patrick
Stewart, Matthew Marsh, Richard McCabe, Catherine Cusack, Tom Godwin, Ellie
Haddington, Joanne Howarth
Director: Angus Jackson
Design: Robert Innes-Hopkins
He’s so good in the major
Shakespeare roles the prospect of seeing him as Shakespeare himself in this
play about the Bard at the end of his life is an enticing prospect but
unfortunately this rather dull evening has very little else to recommend it.
It’s not the fault of the
cast who turn in intelligent, nuanced performances or the director who’s staged
everything clearly and with a lot of visual flourish – it’s simply a play in
which very little of interest happens.
We see the playwright in
retirement squabbling with his family, engaging in a land dispute and chatting
with some local odd-balls and that’s about it. There’s a lively scene at the
beginning of Act two in when another playwright, Ben Johnson, comes to visit
and Richard McCabe plays him with a lot of effective bluster and self pity,
injecting some much needed pace and humour but with his exit we return to
family bickering and Stewart musing in a snow storm.
It’s all been much admired
by critics as a result of which this production transferred from the Chichester
Theatre but most people I spoke to afterwards were either bemused or
It’s great to see one of our
greatest leading actors commanding the Young Vic stage as only he can but I
kept longing to see him in another role worthy of his attentions.
VERDICT: *** (Three Stars)
Patrick Stewart and the team are wasted on an underwhelming play