All’s Well That Ends Well

Another broadcast of a play form the National Theatre in London. This time they were using the big Olivier theatre where we saw the Revengers Tragedy and they have clearly learned a few things about camera placement.
This is a very strange play – part stalker story, part commentary on the risks of arranged marriage (relevant in Elizabethan times, since the court was anxious for her to marry.)

It is hard to imagine a better production than this one. The director took a view that is rather like a fairy story (Grimm brother’s style) and made it quite fantastic. Horror was the underlying theme – creepy things can happen and often do.

The cast was excellent and largely unknown to us, with the exception of the King, who plays lots of mystery theatre type roles.

Casting a very young man as Bertrand made it possible to hope he would eventually grow up and turn inot a decent human being instead of the selfish and foolish young man he starts as.

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About cathyriggall

Theatre junkie, who thinks live theatre is the ultimate form of living on the edge. You never know what will happen when an actor steps on the stage.
This entry was posted in 2009, National Theatre. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to All’s Well That Ends Well

  1. Keith says:

    This was great!Some of the mike-ing was off, but they have learned a lot about using the cameras since Phedre.Helena and Parolles were stand-outs in a generally very strong cast, (I thought the Italian women were a bit weaker than the rest, but still), and the fairy tale approach worked well.They made the Countess of Rousillon, love on Helena and Bertram work – which is tricky – and I agree that a young Bertam makes him more tolerable – but the final interview with the king I think make it clear: once a shit, always a shit. Still, Helena and his mother are both strong – they can let him go away to war, which he seems quite good at, and concentrate on running the estate and not spoiling the baby, as was done with Bertram.This production ended with Helena and Bertram showing doubt about the veracity of the title, which is fine for a production today. However, I don't think Shakespeare was being ironic – for him, marriage was the goal, not love.Overall, by far the best production I have seen of a difficult play to like. If it had been live, I'd have given it a standing ovation.

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