Cymbeline at The Space
Shakespeare’s plays are the most famous and performed pieces of work still to this day, so it has become a harder challenge for a theatre group to reinvent his classic stories and keep audiences entertained. Les Foules Theatre Company conducted their rendition of the playwright’s lesser-known masterpiece Cymbeline at The Space.
Once a church, now a refurbished arts centre, The Space proves a rather apt setting for a revamped version of a very post-modern tale of romance and tragedy. The plot itself embodies enough drama to entertain the Jeremy Kyle studio audience: a daughter who has secretly married her father’s employee, a wife who longs to kill her husband and daughter-in-law, an indecent wager and orphans who have no idea who their real father is.
Like most Shakespearean plays, the story could not be more relevant. The director Nathalie Adlam has chosen to stage this narration in the style of a Western. This is a masterstroke, as the depiction of a society organised around honour, with feuds settled in an irrational manner, are characteristics that exist in both this play and the Western genre.
This allows the actors to bring more life to their characters, as they perform with the humour and physicality demanded of the roles. Larissa Archer is brilliant as a dominating queen who is both sexy and scary. Kathleen Starvert as Imogen seems an unlikely choice at first, but is an immensely likeable protagonist as she gushes her lines with heart and belief. Other notable mentions should go to Sam Trueman as Posthumus and Ed Sheridan especially, who delightfully embodies the ill-natured attributes of Iachimo.
Adlam should be ecstatic with her work here, as all actors played their parts distinctly despite having to fill multiple roles. The flow of the narrative was excellent, as were the costumes by Noelle Claude, and the musical accompaniment and stage lighting fitted the intention of the scenes. The piece was brilliantly executed and felt grand although it was a small production. This only serves as a wonderful testament to the job done here: Cymbeline is a well-directed and well-acted success.
Cymbeline is at The Space until 15th June 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.