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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: May ::
Re: NT Winter's Tale Reviews
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1308  Thursday, 31 May 2001

From:           P. D. Holland <
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Date:           Thursday, 31 May 2001 11:06:27 +0100
Subject: 12.1274 Re: NT Winter's Tale Reviews
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.1274 Re: NT Winter's Tale Reviews

I have to admit to being parti pris on Nicholas Hytner's production of
Winter's Tale at the National in London (not least because I wrote the
programme note and spent time talking with Nick before rehearsals began)
but I would urge anyone to see it. Alex Jennings is the best Leontes I
have ever seen; his grief in the trial scene and in the final scenes is
quite the most remarkable depiction of traumatised response I have ever
encountered and I wept in response in both scenes. As for the
sheep-shearing, some may not like the translation to a Glastonbury-style
new age festival (though that is a modern pastoral form, dependent on a
farmer's generous offer of his own fields for the celebratory event) but
for me it worked splendidly, providing a fine context for Florizel's
playing at being a shepherd. And hands up all those who have ever seen
the sheep-shearing scenes work with the kind of energy and imagination
that they ought to have; this at least comes close.  Yes, there are some
weak performances but so many strong ones (Paulina, Camillo, Polixenes,
Old Shepherd) and such imaginative responses to the play that it is well
and truly worth a long drive across the UK (and back).

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