Lucy Briggs-Owen reminded me of the very young Maggie Smith.
Oliver Rix is a great discovery but Alex Hassell stole the show with a stunning performance. I loved every minute of it.
(me? - 50 years at Stratford and still going) - Mark Bridge
22 Sep 11
I am afraid that for me the facial tics and hand-wringing that Lucy Briggs-Owen indulged in throughout proved a bit overwhelming - please tone it down a bit. (Also she looked just like my next-door neighbour, which was a bit of a problem for me but probably wouldn't be for many people!) - David Johnson
22 Jul 11
I saw this Ďlostí Shakespeare play as Double Falsehood at the Union Theatre earlier in the year. This time it has been re-imagined by Gregory Doran with the resources of the RSC to help him. I still donít know how much of a hand Shakespeare had in it, but I really enjoyed the play nonetheless.
I hadnít realised that it was based on Cervantes. Thereís an authenticity about the Spanish setting thatís created simply by Niki Turnerís costumes and Paul Englishbyís music. It has a passionate Andalusian feel and is staged with great pace. Cardenioís delay in obtaining his fatherís approval to marry Luscinda means the Dukeís youngest son Fernando makes a move on her (but only after heís slept with Ė raped? Ė farmerís daughter Dorotea). Thinking Luscinda has betrayed him, Cardenio disappears into the mountains for his King Lear moment. Fortunately, Dorotea searches for and finds him in order to pursue her claim against Fernando based on the fact that their sexual congress constitutes marriage and his marriage to Luscina is therefore invalid. Itís a good story and Iím now more disposed to believe Shakespeare was involved.
Oliver Rix makes an impressive professional debut as Cardenio. Itís easy to dislike Fernando as played oilily by an excellent Alex Hassell. Both Lucy Briggs-Owen and Pippa Nixon impress as the girls, as do a trio of dadís Ė Nicholas Day and Christopherís Ettridge and Godwin. The Swan is the perfect intimate space for this play; on this occasion with the bonus of fireworks and a superb coup de theatre involving a coffin!
Whether it is or it isnít, itís well worth seeing for what it is Ė a very good pay well staged and performed. - Gareth James
21 Jul 11
top notch acting & production - if Shakespeare didn't write it, he should have! ;-) - Carl C
07 Jul 11
Hi, It ight not be a full Shakespeare play butr it is still worth making an effort to see. The cast is superb and the overall production is great, easy on the eye and the whole set and costumes help the story line rather than distacting from it. I have already seen it twice albeit one in preview and it has already improved, not that it neded to. It is very suitable for a first time Shakespeare visit, as the story line is easy to follow. It is in the smaller Swan Theatre which I love it as you are so close to the action. Go on a Saturday and you can take in either Macbeth or4 Merchant of Venice on the same day. Midweek Matinees are usually on a Wednesady or Thursday. - Gretta Tamlyn
11 May 11
I have seen Cardenio twice already and have booked my third visit. It is an excellent night at the theatre and is even more rewarding with repeated viewing. Olly Rix is definitely one to watch. Alex Hassell is lovably villainous. Christopher Godwin makes you love him. In fact, the entire company gives a masterclass in ensemble and character acting. The play is like a primer for Shakespearean comedy, genuinely funny, touching and not short of surprises. It is a pity it probably won't be revived every few years like the rest of the canon. - William Stafford
03 May 11
The plot has Shakespeare echoes but not the language for me. But this is a terrific production, well acted and with great Spanish music. Heartily recommended. - Mike Duffy
01 May 11
Described as Shakespeare's "lost" Play. Well Shakespeare it certainly isn't but it is clearly influenced by a number of his works. Greg Doran has turned it into a fine production, worthy of the re-opening of the magnificent Swan Theatre. Oliver Rix delivers a fine performance in the title role, well matched by Lucy Briggs-Owen and a particularly excellent Alex Hassell. Highly recommended. - Paul Wallis
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