An extremely cultural few days in mid-July saw us trundling off to the Utopia to watch the NTLive streaming of Everyman then less than a week later a slightly longer trip down to the Belval Utopolis (why, oh why not the one on Kirchberg?) to see the RSC’s most recent production of The Merchant of Venice.
Reviews by Chris Wilson
Everyman, a medieval morality play adapted for this production by Carol Ann Duffy and directed by Rufus Norris starred Chiwetel Ejiofor as a drug-snorting, alcohol-swilling egotist intent on a life of hedonism when death comes calling. Realising that he will have to present himself to God for a reckoning, he embarks on a frantic search for someone who will speak up for him, but to no avail. Highlights were the depiction of God as a cleaning woman with a mop and bucket, cleaning up humanities’ mess – also the Devil with a shopping bag instead of a scythe. Great energetic performances all-round.
RSC’s Merchant of Venice was played out on a simple but most spectacular bronze set (which must have cost a fortune) decorated with a huge swinging pendulum. Directed by Polly Findlay, no-one came out of this production well; neither the xenophobic Antonio, the money-grabbing Bassanio nor the vindictive Portia. Only Shylock, (a latter-day Wonga but with more sense of fairness) evoked any sympathy. Two plays with a similar message perhaps? 1 Timothy 6 v 10? (Look it up!)