Bingo, Young Vic, London

4.00

 

I once received a very nice card from an actor who said that my trashing of his performance had made him laugh out loud.

It was a play about political correctness on the Australian camous and Shakespeare kept infiltrating the proceedings to protest against the po-faced, doctrinaire way that he was being taught.  The actor's sweetness of soul can be gauged by the fact that what I had written was: "You feel that Mr X's Shakespeare would be hard put to quill a note to the milkman, let alone write Measure for Measure". Of course, these days, when there's been so much doubt heaped on the idea that the glover's son from Stratford could have composed such a brainy and learned canon, an actor playing Shakespeare often doesn't need to give the nothing-if-not-tricky impression that his version of Bard is possessed of an amplitude of mind and spirit preternatural enough to have occasioned the Complete Work. The thesp from the provinces was, on this reckoning, merely the front man for the rival claimants or to a committee of intellectuals who had somehow gained extraordinary theatrical know-how while being too posh to have direct dealings with the sordid stage or to publish plays (as opposed to poems) under their own name.

Several things are richly remarkable about this transfer to the Young Vic of Angus Jackson's excellent Chichester revival of Bingo, Edward Bond's 1973 play about an ageing Shakespeare in troubled retirement in Stratford, where this landowning worthy is beset by local bigwigs who want to buy his silence over the pernicious Enclosures, by worries over his will, and by the everyday cruelties of Jacobean life (the torture of bears, the execution on a gibbet of a female arsonist who was disinclined to keep her knickers up et al.) Chief of these is the wonderful discrepancy between Bond's unsupple and unsubtle Brechitian agenda in suggesting that the creative life is neither personal nor public compensation for failing to do something substantive about state-sanctioned and the truly Shakespearean greatness of Patrick Stewart's portrayal of Shakespeare.,  You entirely believe that he wrote those works-- and not because of any crude Rodin's "Thinker"-style attitudinising.  With that beautiful bald brow and chiselled cheek, Stewart's Bard compels and tantalises because he's broodingly slippery, veering between anguish and that off-message unreachable quality (the equivalent in his life of the Keatsian "negative capability" exemplifies in his work).  Catherine Cusack is superb as his daughter, showing you a potential soul mateddesiccated into resentful , old maid nagging. because  of his paternal neglect,  Richard McCabe makes an equally marvellous impression as Ben Jonson, Shakespeare''s reeling worldly boozing pal and great fellow playwright.;  The fluent,  production does Bond's stagecraft proud  with its pictorial high-definition.  Its performances exceed the text in quality.

To March 31

 

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Scandi crush: Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    Th Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
    France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

    Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

    Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
    'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

    Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

    Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
    Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

    Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

    New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

    The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
    Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

    Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

    Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Rebranding Christmas: More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence

    Rebranding Christmas

    More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence. They are missing the point, and we all need to grow up
    A Greek island - yours for the price of a London flat

    A sun-kissed island - yours for the price of a London flat

    Cash-strapped Greeks are selling off their slices of paradise