Review: The Winters Tale (Barbican)

Reviewed by Ksenya Grey
April 6th 2017
Reviewer rating:

‘Jealousy is a disease, love is a healthy condition’

Cheek by Jowl’s internationally renowned touring production of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale has landed at the Barbican, and it is a work of brilliance.

The plays of William Shakespeare are so embodied into our theatre culture that the reinventions of his classics are always meet with intrigue. The five act play seamlessly changes tone throughout the evening – with the first three acts are more of a psychological drama, a Greek tragedy if you will, and the last two a drama with comedic interludes by Autolycus (Ryan Donaldson).

Orlando James is the true stand out of the evening as Leontes, King of Sicilia, whose delight in his family is destroyed when he is gripped by a sudden paranoia that his wife has been having an affair, and that his brother Polixenes, the visiting King of Bohemia, is the true father of her unborn child.

James is equally matched by Natalie Radmall-Quirke, who plays Leontes’ Queen, Hermione. Her performance is powerful and her death breaks the heart of every audience member in that theatre.

What makes this production stand out is the stage is used as a blank canvas with very minimal allowing the words tell the story.

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