The bard’s dark comedy, widely acknowledged as one of his “problem plays”, is directed by Almeida artistic director Michael Attenborough and also stars Anna Maxwell Martin as Isabella, a novice nun and desperate sister of a condemned man who Angelo tries to seduce, and Ben Miles as the Duke of Vienna, who disguises himself to expose Angelo, his once-trusted deputy. Measure for Measure opened on 18 February 2010 (previews from 11 February) and continues until 10 April.
Overnight critics lauded Attenborough’s “inspired”, “clear”, “coherent”, “extraordinarily fresh and arresting take” on the Shakespeare classic, in which “it is as if every moment in the play has been pondered anew”. There was also appreciation for Miles’ “psychologically searching” and “intense” Duke and Maxwell Martin’s “dour” Isabella and for the comic support provided by Lloyd Hutchinson and Trevor Cooper.
But the lion’s share of accolades went to Rory Kinnear for his “discerning”, “compelling”, “bracingly honest”, “finely sketched” and quite simply “outstanding” performance as Angelo. After this measured offering, critics will doubtlessly be looking forward to his Great Dane.