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

 

Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
books
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
books
Arts and Entertainment
The man with the golden run: Daniel Craig as James Bond in 'Skyfall'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Waving Seal' by Luke Wilkinson was Highly Commended in the Portraits category

photography
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Art
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard, nicknamed by the press as 'Dirty Diana'

Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
The X Factor 2014 judges: Simon Cowell, Cheryl Cole, Mel B and Louis Walsh

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace was caught by a camera van driving 32mph over the speed limit

TV
Arts and Entertainment
books
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Iain reacts to his GBBO disaster

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Outlaw Pete is based on an eight-minute ballad from Springsteen’s 2009 Working on a Dream album

books
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012

film
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Gothic revival: artist Dave McKean’s poster for Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination
Exhibition
Arts and Entertainment
Diana Beard has left the Great British Bake Off 2014

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live

TV
Arts and Entertainment
TVDessert week was full of the usual dramas as 'bingate' ensued
Arts and Entertainment
Clara and the twelfth Doctor embark on their first adventure together
TVThe regulator received six complaints on Saturday night
Arts and Entertainment
Vinyl demand: a factory making the old-style discs
musicManufacturers are struggling to keep up with the resurgence in vinyl
Arts and Entertainment
David Baddiel concedes his show takes its inspiration from the hit US series 'Modern Family'
comedyNew comedy festival out to show that there’s more to Jewish humour than rabbi jokes
Arts and Entertainment
Puff Daddy: One Direction may actually be able to use the outrage to boost their credibility

music
Arts and Entertainment
Suha Arraf’s film ‘Villa Touma’ (left) is set in Ramallah and all the actresses are Palestinian

film
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.

    Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

    The big names to look for this fashion week

    This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
    Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

    Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

    Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Al Pacino wows Venice

    Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
    Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

    Neil Lawson Baker interview

    ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor