Tuesday, July 5

Tag: The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice – Shakespeare’s Globe
London

The Merchant of Venice – Shakespeare’s Globe

The current rise of antisemitism around the world gives extra resonance and relevance to Shakespeare's 16th Century play on usury, religious conflict, revenge and the manipulation of justice. Abigail Graham's direction packs a serious punch, with a stellar cast who draw out every nuance of the text. The claustrophobic atmosphere of the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is brilliantly heightened in this beautiful candlelit production set in the present day, but which could relate to any era. Young Bassanio is a spendthrift and hedonist, partying with his buddies and going through money as though there's no tomorrow.  Needing cash to pursue his wooing of the rich heiress, Portia, he turns to his friend, the merchant, Antonio, who has bailed him out previously. Antonio agrees and asks Shylock,...
The Merchant of Venice – Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon
West Midlands

The Merchant of Venice – Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon

It is not often recognised that this is one of Shakespeare’s comedies and watching this RSC production from 2015 under the direction of Polly Findlay as part of the BBC Culture in Quarantine programme, one would be tempted to say it was a tragedy. I often say that less is more but Johannes Schütz’s set design is so bare that even with its pendulum constantly swinging, it is impossible to decipher a proper sense of time or place which is at the heart of this play about money and how it affects all involved. We begin with Antonio (Jamie Ballard), a prince among Venetian merchants who is unaccountably depressed despite his obvious success as a dealer in luxury goods. His friend Bassanio (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd) in contrast is broke but remains reasonably cheerful as he has a plan to marry Po...