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Photos: Stewart Plays Shylock in Vegas for RSC

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Rupert Goold and Patrick Stewart are reunited for the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Merchant of Venice which opened in the newly-refurbished Royal Shakespeare Theatre last night (19 May 2011, previews from 13 May) as part of the company's 50th anniversary season.

The pair previously worked together on the RSC’s 2006 production of The Tempest, which transferred to the West End, and most famously, on the multi award-winning 2007 Chichester production of Macbeth, which transferred to the West End and Broadway and was subsequently filmed. Following Macbeth, Stewart returned to the RSC in 2009 to play Claudius to David Tennant’s Hamlet, which also transferred to the West End and which won Stewart both Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Awards for Best Supporting Actor.

A Shakespeare play which has seen against many transformative settings - David Thacker brought Peter Zadek's German production to Stratford in 1993 set in a stock exchange - Goold's new production moves the action to Las Vegas with Stewart's Shylock inhabiting a world complete with showgirls and TV game shows.

Stewart is joined in the cast by Scott Handy, Jason Morell, Rebecca Brewer, Jamie Beamish, Madeline Appiah, Emily Plumtree and Susannah Fielding.

The production is designed by Tom Scutt with lighting by Rick Fisher, music by Adam Cork, sound by Gregory Clarke, choreography by Scott Ambler and music and orchestrations by Alex Baranowski. It continues in rep at Stratford's Royal Shakespeare Theatre until 4 October 2011.

Upcoming production's in the RSC's 50th anniversary season include a review of “50 years of RSC commissions”, including major new productions of Marat/Sade (first performed in 1964), directed by Anthony Neilson, and Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming (premiered by the RSC in 1965), directed by David Farr; and a new production of A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Nancy Meckler.


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