After the bar had been set by Julius Caesar, I had very high hopes for Antony and Cleopatra and…it did not disappoint. Antony and Cleopatra is a gorgeous, golden production and is still flying the flag high for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Rome season.
The settings for this production are the ancient civilisations of the Roman Empire and Cleopatra’s Egypt. The scenery is amazing as it seamlessly moves between kingdoms and the action. It, also, clearly connects to the Caesar production in the current Rome season. The music fully supports in creating the atmosphere for the destinations and the story as it unfolds.
There is no mistaking the Queen of Egypt in her stunning, shimmering costumes. Josette Simon plays Cleopatra with real elegance and perfect humour. Antony Byrne is a commanding Mark Antony and together they play out the true passion between the two lead characters. The rest of the cast perfectly support the central characters as the plot picks up pace. It is always wonderful seeing the ensemble of actors move from one play to another demonstrating their true versatility.
For one of the longer of Shakespeare’s plays, you are hooked from the moment the stage erupts into life with a dance scene in Egypt until the tragedy of the final closing scene, played out beautifully by all those involved. The intense applause was well deserved for all involved (on the stage and behind the scenes) as the lights signalled the end of the performance.
The next stop will be Titus Andronicus and, if the first two plays are anything to go by, I absolutely can not wait.