Shakespeare's wooden "O" comes with strings attached in Kathryn Hunter's production of the Bard's late romance. Ropes dangle above the stage and from the encircling galleries, wonderfully transforming the whole theatre into a ship for this tale of King Pericles' storm-tossed journey through life. Criss-crossing seas, he woos an incestuous princess, loses his bride, then miraculously reunites with wife and child at the close.
The tempest scenes are haunting, with acrobats spiralling down the ropes like drowning sailors. Patrice Naiambana is joyously vibrant as Gower, turning the archaic narrator into a chatty, ad-libbing and ululating West African storyteller. The idea of him healing the psychologically scarred elderly Pericles (Corin Redgrave) by getting him to look back at his younger self (Robert Lucksay) makes poignant sense too. However, Hunter's directing is patchy. Redgrave (who unfortunately fell ill last week) shines when verse-speaking but is adrift during the physical theatre routines; while the Slovakian Lucksay - formerly mesmerising in Kneehigh's The Bacchae - is comically charming but struggles with his iambic pentameters.
To 1 October, 020 7401 9919
- More about: