THE INFORMATION ON: `Antony and Cleopatra'

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The Independent Culture
What Is It?

The Globe's new Jacobean-dress production of Shakespeare's play, directed by Giles Block, which has caused a stir with its all-male cast.

Who's In It?

Most notably, the Globe's own artistic director, Mark Rylance (far right) as Cleopatra, who's drawn rave reviews and stolen the show with his "beguiling persuasiveness and compelling mercuriality." Paul Shelley plays Antony, John McEnery is Enobarbus, with Mark Lewis Jones as Pompey and Ben Walden as Octavius.

What They Say About It

"The irony is that he [Rylance] comes across as less of a toughened drag- act than some of our recent female Cleopatras (Helen Mirren, Frances de la Tour), who have made the queen's capricious volte-faces look crashingly premeditated... Paul Shelley is a disappointingly brisk and efficient Antony... but in the grilling heat of the current Globe performances, Rylance is well worth risking sunstroke for." Paul Taylor, The Independent

"Block's ensemble go for pace and volume in verse, largely missing the tender intimacy and exquisite poetry begging to be recognised in Shakespeare's dialogue," Kate Bassett, The Daily Telegraph

"Rylance shows a remarkable ability to switch moods... it's a fine performance suggesting Cleopatra remained a consummate actress to the last... Paul Shelley here gives a perfectly decent performance... for the rest, it is an evening of ups and downs," Michael Billington, The Guardian

Where You Can See It

Globe Theatre, London SE1 (0171-401 9919) in rep to 26 Sept

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