Wednesday, 11 July 2012
Theatre review: The Winter's Tale (Propeller)
Leontes, King of Sicilia (Robert Hands) and his heavily pregnant wife Hermione (Richard Dempsey) are entertaining their good friend Polixenes, King of Bohemia (Nicholas Asbury.) Out of nowhere, Leontes becomes convinced that Hermione and Polixenes are having an affair, and his jealousy prompts him to imprison and publicly shame the innocent wife, and try to have his friend assassinated. His actions have unforeseen tragic consequences that only the second half's magical events can put right. The first half of the play is performed in an uncharacteristically pared-back style by Propeller's standards, but is none the worse for it. Punctuated occasionally by the eerie music made by the cast running their fingers round the rims of brandy glasses, it's an intense self-contained drama anchored by Hands' increasingly unhinged and eventually devastated Leontes.
The Winter's Tale by William Shakespeare is booking in repertory until the 21st of July at Hampstead Theatre; then continuing on tour to Galway.
Running time: 3 hours including interval.