Review: Cymbeline

Written for The Stage

In producing a double bill of Shakespeare’s least performed plays, Pericles and Cymbeline, Pistachio Choice has set itself a tough task. It is one, with the latter at least, that it has not managed to carry off. Antonio Ferrara’s production, while boasting some passionate performances, suffers from a lack of decisive direction to coax Shakespeare’s rambling romance into watchable shape.

Ostensibly the story of a triumphant underdog this tale of warring Britons lacks any of Henry V’s bombast or celebratory zeal. Instead we get caught up in a tale of mistaken betrayal that once more sees a woman’s reputation abused and her body treated as a trophy to be owned and obtained.

While the traverse stage opens up the Drayton Arms space, the unimaginative set adds little to this ancient history piece. Roles are swapped continuously within this cast of five with the Roman and British tribes discernible via northern accents and occasional hat exchanges in a pragmatic if humdrum fashion.

A forthright cast battle on through this quotidian experience. Tim Wyatt’s rich delivery is a pleasure to listen too, while Caitlin Thorburn gives a dynamic and touching performance as the put-upon Imogen. Thorburn and Wyatt inject real feeling into their turns, bringing some much needed vibrancy to this commonplace Cymbeline.

Runs until 30th March. For more information go here.

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