Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 28. Day 119. Very tasty

King Lear. Circa 1981. Torture.
Student A. "Read a line". Then "Next Student. Next line". Analyse. What does that mean? Then write an essay, probably on whether Shakespeare is relevant today. Then shoot yourself because if Lear wasn't a big enough tragedy what Shakespeare in English classes did to generations of school students certainly is.
Shakespeare needs to taken off the page and on to the stage where it will shine and questions about relevance to today's audiences will be instantly silenced.
Every student in Brisbane studying Shakespeare should stand up, walk out of the classroom and into the Playhouse at QPAC and see Queensland Theatre Company's Much Ado About Nothing
From the moment the moon went down and the first rays of the sun rose over the ocean and the wind gentle wafts the curtains of the villa in the opening moments of the performance, it was clear this Playhouse production was going to be something special.

While the original play was set in Messina, a port town in Sicily, this production moves the action to another playground of the idle rich a mythical tropical island off the Queensland Coast.

The men have returned from war and are ready to play and the women are ready for the men.  The genius of Shakespeare is that the could easily be a Rom Com starring Anne Hathaway and Hugh Grant – except the dialogue is too clever. There are acts which we would today call  “slut shaming” or Twitter trolling, weddings that are on and off, a couple that everyone knows will end up together except them and a few songs to boot.

The comic timing is spot on with the bantering between Hugh Parker (Benedick) and Christen O’Leary (Beatrice) just magic to watch.

If you love Shakespeare you’ll love this. If you think High School English killed any chance there ever was of being convinced there is anything to The Bard this could just be the production that changes your mind.It would be a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions to miss this one. Oh, and speaking of tragedies, my heart bleeds for all of you who didn't get an invite to the opening night party at the Convention Centre. Man they do a good spread.

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