It's time for my review of Antony and Cleopatra.
JuliusCaesar and his assassins are dead. General Mark Antony now rules alongside his fellow defenders of Rome. But at the fringes of a war-torn empire the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra and Mark Antony have fallen fiercely in love. In a tragic fight between devotion and duty, obsession becomes a catalyst for war. Politics and passion are violently intertwined in Shakespeare’s tragic tale of power.
In the leading role of Antony, Ralph Fiennes is utterly phenomenal. Fiennes is clearly a natural when it comes to Shakespeare, with the language easily rolling off of his tongue. Through his diverse range of acting abilities, I was utterly captivated by his performance. Fiennes makes for a flawless Antony. Playing opposite is Sophie Okonedo, who makes for the perfect Cleopatra. Okonedo shines in all elements of the character, successfully portraying both the comedic elements of the character, as well as the the more tragic parts to Cleopatra, which we see more towards the end of Act Two. As well as the show's two leading actors, the supporting cast are all excellent. There are no weak links among them; all cast members were filled with energy and enthusiasm for the entirety of the three and a half hours. Stand-outs include Tunji Kasim and Tim McMullan as Caesar and Enobarbus respectively, who each provide compelling characterisations.
In regards to creativity, this production of Antony and Cleopatra excels. A revolving set has cleverly been used by designer Hildegard Bechtler in order to transport the audience to a variety of different locations, and the end result is undoubtedly exceptionally effective. All of the sets featured had an extensive level of detail to them. In particular, Cleopatra's luxurious palace and the Pompey's grand submarine were outstandingly detailed and realistic. The costumes, designed by Evie Gurney, are also to the highest quality; the entirety of Cleopatra's wardrobe were stunning. I also rather admired the music which has been added to this production, performed by a live orchestra in the Olivier Theatre boxes. The addition of live music really helped in achieving the show's desired effects, due to the fact that it made for a very exciting and lively atmosphere alongside the production's battle scenes.
My only slight reservation concerning this production was its length. Antony and Cleopatra stands at 3 and a half hours, with certain elements of the play feeling a little lengthy . I therefore believe that the production could have done a little bit of trimming from its original format.
Now for my final verdict on Antony and Cleopatra. I give Antony and Cleopatra...
Despite its long run-time, I still found this production of Antony and Cleopatra to be truly excellent. With a stellar cast and outstanding creativity, it really is outstanding.
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Thanks for reading!