Comedy of Errors

In July 2021, I was thrilled to be able to see this play in the temporary Garden Theatre just outside the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon. Although I attended the performance just after the "lockdown" restrictions had been eased by the Government, social distancing and reduced capacity (310 ) were still maintained.The play was set in modern day wealthy Dubai and was energetic, amusing and great fun! A truly high quality performance from all the cast.

Taming of the Shrew

In March 2019 I went with Norma to see this play and we remembered that we last saw this last century (1996) in Stratford when we travelled down from Cheshire. Josie Lawrence played Katharine. This time things were quite different, because Baptista is now a woman and Katherine and her younger sister are now young men, although their names remain unchanged! This was very confusing for the first 15 minutes. There has always been an uneasy feeling about this play and this is now even more apparent with the gender flip. The male characters are weak and even Kate, although sulky and mildly petulant was frail, gentle and sparrow-like. Petruchia was brilliantly acted by Claire Price, who was lively, intelligent and witty and it was distressing to see Kate humiliated by such a powerful monster. The costumes were magnificent and the play was enjoyable to watch.

Tartuffe - RSC Stratford-upon-Avon

I went to see an adaptation of Molière's Tartuffe with Trish at the Birmingham Rep in November 2013. The play was quite enjoyable, but rather resembled a pre-Xmas pantomime with topical jokes about the new high speed train link and Wolverhampton from what I remember. The ending was different from the original version, which was first performed in 1664 in Paris.

This bold adaptation, which I saw in January 2019, also had a "Brummie" theme and featured a wealthy Pakistani family from a "nice" part of Birmingham. I liked the part played by their cleaner, a moslem lady from Bosnia whose common sense and constant flippant remarks earned her a powerful pivotal role. The wife and daughter were strong, almost.. intellectual characters, whereas the son and the father were portrayed as being rather stupid. 17th century Paris was swopped for 21st century Birmingham and the Catholic church for Islam. Sitar music and chanting from the Punjab was heard alongside Black Sabbath. Again the original ending was changed and I thought this was the weakest part of the production - too many unexpected things happening in a very short time, which was a shame. I thoroughly enjoyed this adaptation and the acting was brilliant. There was plenty of humour (jokes about Brexit and Small Heath this time) and many issues were raised, giving people food for thought and discussion.

Merry Wives of Windsor - RSC Stratford-upon-Avon

In August 2018 I was lucky enough to get a couple of top category return tickets - front row centre in circle:-)

This performance was certainly different - think TOWIE or Eastenders 2018 rather than Elizabethan 1602. I really enjoyed this version of the play, but have to admit that I hope this will not be how all the plays in the future are performed. I still like the authentic style, but appreciate that it should be interpreted in different ways.