REVIEW: Pericles Redgrave Theatre by Gerry Parker 7/10
ADAPTER/director John Hartoch heads his programme notes Mucking About with Shakespeare, something he admits to being a little cautious in undertaking.
In an effort to reach a young audience, without dumbing-down the work in any way, he then proceeded to change the order of the story in a way that allows Marina, Pericles' daughter to tell the tale through a "play within a play".
Realising that he is on very dangerous ground John Hartoch is careful to present the action in a clear concise manner that gives the audience every opportunity to follow the quickly changing storylines.
Designer Georgia De Grey uses the inner hull of a rusting ship as a background, a ploy, which, whilst being extremely effective in the shipwreck scenes, does not always sit so happily with all the other parts of the story. Costumes which are loosely based on the 1930s period fit admirably with the musical side of the production, especially in the now opening sequence set in a brothel. The combination is less successful in some of the more dramatic moments.
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With all except Linda Dukes and Darren Seed, as Marina and Pericles, playing two, three or even four roles, often with only the minimal of physical change, there were moments when it became difficult to readjust to the changing characters being placed before us.
Amongst these changing characters were some eye-catching presentations, amongst them Martin Bassingdale's Gower, Jennifer Clement's Bawd, Todd James as Simonides, Billy Howle's young Pericles, Hannah Lee's Thaisa and Zachary Powell as Lysimachus.
With the aid of a highly committed company John Hartoch achieved his aim to present Pericles in an accessible manner for youngsters and adults alike.