Shakespeare’s “The Winter’s Tale” Live from London’s Garrick Theatre,
Thursday, Nov 26th @ 7.15PM. [From Jim Ryan]
The ‘hottest ticket’ in world theatre at the moment is surely that for the Kenneth Brannagh Theatre Company’s run of The Winter’s Tale; I tried on numerous occasions to book a seat at a performance in the Garrick Theatre, but it’s ‘sold out’ for some time. I’m all the more delighted that Eugene and all at the SGC, Dungarvan, are screening live the performance of Nov 26th. It stars Brannagh and the magical Judi Dench.
Judi (like her slightly younger contemporary, Helen Mirren, is one of the adornments of world theatre. For many decades she has been a star of stage, screen, radio and TV, and in all those years, I doubt if anybody has ever seen her give a poor performance. I have privileged to have seen her in the theatre quite a number of times, and I’ve never seen a Lady Macbeth to equal her 1970s performance for Television. We simply must see her while we can, and I haven’t lost hope of coming by a ‘return’ for “The Winter’s Tale’ when I hope to be in London in early December. “The Times” review of Dench’s performance in this production said, inter alia :- “The real gift of the evening is a pair of wondrous performances by Judi Dench, aged 80, doubling up as the noblewoman, Paulina, and Time itself. … Paulina’s speech about time, which ushers in the bucolic episode in Bohemia, is exquisitely delivered”.
Along with Dench, Brannagh (who has given many superb performances in Shakespearean roles) has assembled a very strong cast; he, himself, as King Leontes, Tom Bateman as Florizel, Jessie Buckley as Perdita and Miranda Raison as Hermione.
The ‘Tale’ is one of its author’s late romances. Polixenes, king of Bohemia, extends his visit to King Leontes of Sicily, only at the request of the latter’s wife, Hermione. Leontes becomes insanely jealous and orders that Polixenes be killed. Hermione is imprisoned and a daughter who is born there (to her and Leontes) is, on Leontes’ orders, abandoned on the coast of Bohemia. The rage caused by unjustified jealousy reminds us of ‘Othello’, but here, on the surface at least, things turn out much better in the end’ (Incidentally, Shakespeare’s other great dramatic study of jealousy is the comedy, “The Merry Wives of Windsor”).
It’s not too often we can see this haunting play and, also, for Judi Dench, I consider it to be unmissable.