Director: Myles O’Gorman
Assistant Director: Sophie Leydon
Producer: Frances Livesey
NEXT SHOWING: The Warren, Brighton – Sunday 26th May – 6pm
A Winter’s Tale is not the first Shakespeare play we recall, although it is named among the best of his final plays, and in this adaptation by Helikon Theatre Company I can certainly see why. This tale of desperate jealously and shocking tragedy was cleverly adapted to fit our modern world, and with their talented cast and creative directing, it was a wonderful performance.
With a simple, modern set complete with a projector and live streaming camera, O’Gorman created an outlook which was immediately familiar with the audience. The camera was mainly used to display the King Leontes, played by ALRA graduate Conor Kennedy, addressing his subjects (the audience) to update them on political and personal matters. The days passing were also projected as well as intimate moments in the garden between Hermione, played by Lindsey Huebner, and Polixenes, played by Lanre Danmola, which were obviously prerecorded yet added another layer to this dynamic production. However, using so much technology within a Fringe performance can cause problems… my only fault with this piece would be the technical cues and accuracy.
The colloquial phrases interspersed with the original Shakespeare text added comical moments and also allowed the audience’s auto-translator (which we all have watching Shakespeare… don’t lie) to take a break. The main actor, Kennedy, truly grasped the comical timing of Shakespearean as well as the adapted moments of modern text. The energy and emotion he brought to the space was honest and powerful, his portrayal of Leontes’ distracted mind, stubborn outlook on his wife’s affair, and later heartbreak was all spot-on and heartfelt.
This emotionally charged piece found creative ways to display the more challenging moments of the script, for example the three deaths which drives the plot and gives depth to the characters and the text. (No spoilers here!)
This radical portrayal of A Winter’s Tale was refreshing, dynamic and most of all well performed. I would certainly recommend a trip to Brighton to catch the last showing!
Previous review: A Winter’s Tale @ The Warren, Brighton Fringe