Review: Pericles

Written for The Stage

The adage ‘show, don’t tell’ – a precautionary note designed to stop writers from relying solely on description – could be put to good use here. David Weinberg’s Pericles is an enjoyable romp that moves at a sharp pace. But the expositional acting of this likeable cast is reminiscent of the classical fantasy films of the 1960s.

Still they just about get away with it. Philip Mansfield’s Elizabethan narrator bounds on stage before pulling us back in time to a cast dressed in reams of fabric and Greek sandals. Incest, love, shipwreck, comedy, calamity and a happy ending are all laced together by Mansfield’s fruity commentary and a cast of no less than 11 performers.

Jonathan Leinmuller is gallant as Pericles, the valiant centre of this adventure. As his tearful and silver-tongued daughter, Rachael Cunliffe manages to avoid the irritation caused by many wide-eyed and put upon heroines, which is no mean feat.

Alessia Alba’s costumes are elegant while Philip Jones’ lighting transforms this Homeric Odyssey into a mini-series, with blackouts breaking the action down into workable chunks.

Weinberg’s Pericles is old fashioned but it has a nostalgic charm that carries its audience through even the silliest parts of this epic soap opera.

Runs until 28th October

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