Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Young Reviewers: New Dimension to Bard's Tale

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Young Reviewers: New Dimension to Bard's Tale

Article excerpt

TheTwo Gentlemen of Verona Alnwick Castle

The Two Gentlemen Of Verona is one of Shakespeare's earliest romantic comedies, although its plot of stealthy wit and algebraic complexity would be unrecognisable placed next to the more lighthearted contemporary comedy of today.

This relatively-short tale tells the story of two noblemen, Proteus and Valentine, who take a trip to Milan in search of their respective loves, Julia and Sylvia. Once they arrive in Milan, Valentine soon finds he is faced with a rival, Proteus himself, who has fallen out of love with Julia and in love with the wealthy emperor's daughter.

Unaware of his changed affections, at home in Verona, Julia misses Proteus so much that she decides to go to see him in Milan, disguised as a boy-page.

Over the course of the play, it becomes gradually clear who is in love with whom, with the overall theme developing around the relative conflicts that lust, love, friendship, and forgiveness can create and overcome.

With many of Theatre Set-Up's eight-member cast playing multiple roles, credit is due alone for their ability to change from one heavy 18th Century costume to another in a matter of seconds. Fortunately, there were no props and stage scenery to lug about as the entire play was performed against the minimalist backdrop of the stage curtains.

Live music helped to set this production apart from those of other Shakespearean theatre groups, with music from Mozart's operas being played on the harp and traditional singing from the actors accompanying many of the scenes.

At times the script seemed a little bare and forced, but the combination of good acting and direction created a tangible atmosphere and helped to bring out the full conflict of the story.

As is customary in nearly every one of Shakespeare's plays, wealthy noblemen feature thick and fast; yet they are rarely seen without their trusty fool, and even though The Two Gentlemen of Verona was penned a long time before the more famous comedies, this play featured more than its fair share of comic capers, with two fine comic scenes coming courtesy of the servant Launce, played by Terry Jermyn. …

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