Shakespeare’s Globe Encore Screening The Merchant of Venice review the Festival Theatre Saturday 17th September


Shakespeare’s Globe Encore Screening The Merchant of Venice at The Festival Theatre is a great example of how this production format allows those of us that are not lucky enough to be part of the original live event to still experience the production through modern technology.  Of course, we lose that intimacy of watching a live performance, but in a theatre like this one with state of the art digital screening technology, this is as close as it probably gets to the real thing.

There have been so many words already written about this work, that I make no attempt to summarise the plot here as it is probably one of the best known in the world. Instead, a few words on this outstanding production directed by Jonathan Munby that, with a hugely talented cast, has brought this production to life and with some innovative “audience participation” probably brought us all as close to how the original audience may have interacted with the performers as we will get.

Everyone in this production really deserves a mention, as this work is so skilfully handled both in its darker moments and its humour, so here they are  - Stefan Adegbola, Michael Bertenshaw, Philip Cox, Scott Karim, Ben Lamb, Daniel Lapaine, Christopher Logan, Dominic Mafham, Brian Martin, Dorothea Myer-Bennett, Regé-Jean Page, Rachel Pickup, Jonathan Pryce, Phoebe Pryce, David Sturzaker .

Outstanding in his role of Shylock the Jew is Jonathan Pryce, and together with his real life daughter Phoebe Pryce playing the role of his on stage daughter Jessica, this is one of the great real life/on stage father and daughter partnerships.

Another great on stage partnership here too is Rachel Pickup as Portia and  Dorothea Myer-Bennett as Nerissa, both of whom have that ability to easily switch from drama to comedy and do both so well.

Holding all the threads of the different characters’ stories together though is Daniel Lapaine as an excellent Bassanio.  Again, a fine on stage pairing with Dominic Mafham  as the melancholy merchant Antonio.

Having huge fun throughout is Stefan Adegbola in the larger than life role of servant to many Launcelot Gobbo

This is just one of those rare times in a production where everything and everyone just seem to fit perfectly into place

Review by Tom King

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