The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1378  Wednesday, 24 August 2005

From: 		Charles Weinstein <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, 23 Aug 2005 17:32:13 -0400
Subject: 	King John

Al Magary has some unkind words for the BBC's King John; but the 
production has too many good performances to warrant such dismissal. 
George Costigan's wayward but committed Bastard, a compound of offhand 
charm, affable cynicism and absolute integrity, strikes me as a 
beautiful piece of work; and Costigan's natural way with a line is an 
object lesson in colloquial Shakespeare.  Claire Bloom interestingly 
transforms Constance's latent (and patent) melodrama into restrained 
intelligence:  she does not provoke tears but compels through force of 
mind.  Charles Kay's sanctimonious King Philip, Richard Wordsworth's 
vulpine and chillingly unsanctimonious Cardinal, Mary Morris' flinty 
Elinor and Phyllida Lloyd's rueful but reconcilable Lady Faulconbridge 
are all first-rate.  John Thaw's Hubert and John Castle's Salisbury 
(surprisingly accomplished actors for such small roles) are also very 
good; as are Jonathan Coy's Dauphin, Edward Hibbert's Faulconbridge and 
others.  The same cannot be said of Leonard Rossiter's John, but the 
eponymous King does not dominate his play; and the youthful ineptitude 
of Luc Owen's Arthur takes up sufficiently little screen time to be 
forgivable (or almost).  I count King John as one of the BBC's more 
successful offerings; and ten years ago I shelled out the 80-odd dollars 
to buy it.

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