Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Troilus and Cressida

The Royal Shakespeare Company and EIF's trouble-hit collaboration turned out to be something of a triumph, bringing one of The Great Bard's more, um, "difficult" works to the Festival with bags of epic grandeur and fake-tanned flesh.

Outstanding performances, especially, I thought, Ian Hughes as the parasitic Thersites, Paul Jesson as Pandarus and the ever-sonorous David Yelland as Ulysses.

At over three and a half hours, this could have been a real endurance test, but the excellent cast kept the action moving along swiftly throughout, and especially during the action-packed second half, never allowing the audience to become complacent.

Some utterly unnecessary nudity did detract slightly, as did the overly-camp portrayal of Achilles. I was especially impressed with the excellent scenery (there were no hitches this time) and the superb Julian Lewis Jones as Ajax who all-but stole the show.

Given the fiasco that had led to the cancelling of the previous night's performance during the interval, it was unsurprising that there was a palpable sigh of relief when the actors came out for the second half. I was very glad they did.

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