It's a testament to the genius of Shakespeare (and probably Thomas Middleton) that one of the more neglected plays suddenly seems to be bursting with relevance in these austere times and it is only surprising that nobody else has thought to stage it in this fashion. The great Simon Russell Beale has been a bit inconsistent by his high standards of late but he is absolutely supeb as a philanthropist bestowing gift on ungrateful "friends" which he simply can't afford. He's like an avuncular Ed Balls throwing money around and incurring incalculable debt and then refusing to accept any of the blame - I wonder if Nick Hytner appreciates the full irony when he bleats about arts subsidies when essential services are being cut. SRB also brilliantly conveys the bitterness and misanthropy of Timon when he is reduced to penury but after a scintillating first half the second act is less convincing and his discovery of a stash of gold is scarcely credible. Hilton McRae is very good as the cynical Apermantus but his role feels reduced and Alcibiades and his fellow protesters are only sketchily developed which makes for a damp squib of an ending. This is a brilliant production of a supposedly problem play but only when SRB as Timon holds centre stage. - David Baxter
20 Sep 12
I don't think Russell Beale has ever let us down . This is a flawed play, particularly the last couple of scenes, which perhaps explains its lack of popularity over the years, but if ever there was a staging to bring it out of the shadows, this is it. My only quibble-I found Findlay's rendition somewhat stilted. - DCH
19 Jul 12
Timon to blame as much as his "friends". SRB is splendid. and the modern context caused several laughters. The set deserves special mentioning which supports the idea, whatever happens things will still repeat itself and are interchangeable. - Elisabeth
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