Cymbeline - Open Air Theatre 2005

  • Date:
    Friday, June 10, 2005

    Genre: Drama
    Opened 10 June 2005
    Written: By William Shakespeare
    Directed: Rachel Kavanaugh
    Producer: New Shakespeare Company
    Cast: Julian Curry (Cymbeline), Emma Pallant (Imogen), Simon Day (Iachimo), Daniel Flynn (Posthumus), Hal Fowler (Caius Lucius),
    Synopsis: Two young princes are kidnapped from King Cymbeline’s court. Twenty years later King Cymbeline wishes his remaining daughter, Imogen, to marry his stepson; but she has already secretly married her lover Posthumus, a commoner. The King drives them apart, banishing Posthumus to Rome, where he meets the scheming villain Iachimo.

    What the critics had to say.....
    JOHN THAXTER for THE STAGE says, "Rachel Kavanaugh’s robust revival also opens in confusion with the cast sharing the exposition. But this is happily followed by narrative clarity as the tangled plot unravels until a beautifully paced closing scene, where the mounting revelations and long-lost birthmarks combine comedy with hand on heart humanity, encouraging us to laugh." NICK CURTIS for THE EVENING STANDARD says, "Disappointing...But this remains a valiant stab at one of the lesser-known works in the Shakespeare canon." CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, "The great virtue of Rachel Kavanaugh's mostly modern-dress production, played on an abstract, metallic design that sits surprisingly comfortably in this sylvan setting, is its clarity. The play's politics and its fraught romantic entanglements are deftly caught, and Kavanaugh is responsive too to the changes of mood in a work that constantly juxtaposes the beautiful and the ugly, the real and the mythic." IAN JOHNS for THE TIMES says, "Kavanaugh..ensures a swift pace with a pruned text but this can also accentuate the play’s shifts in tone so pathos can be squeezed against comedy and noble speeches lurk in the shadow of melodrama.....All credit to Kavanaugh for clarifying this uneven, convoluted yarn.." SARAH HEMMIMG for THE FINANCIAL TIMES says, "The hallmark for Rachel Kavanaugh's fine production of this late romance is clarity....Kavanaugh's production does not solve all the play's challenges. But it does convey the moving urge for reconciliation and forgiveness that drives this strange, beguiling drama." MICHAEL BILLINGTON for THE GUARDIAN says, "Rachel Kavanaugh's open-air revival generates enough warmth to overcome the chilly summer evening."

    External links to full reviews from popular press
    The Guardian
    The Stage
    Financial Times
    The Times
    Daily Telegraph

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