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Review: TTC's Measure For Measure

Review: TTC's Measure For Measure Click to enlarge

14 Jul 2016

Jess Horsley, one of our Blog Team and a member of our Bar & Café Staff, reviews TTC’s current production of Shakespeare's Measure For Measure

The opening night of Trinity Theatre Club's 'Measure for Measure' was certainly a success. The harsh, dramatic stone-effect set gave the audience a feel of the authoritarian themes from the moment they walked in. Accompanied by intense, atmospheric lighting and the clean-cut costumes of 'The Law', it certainly drew the audience in for what was to be a powerful first act.

Angelo's crisis of conscience is definitely one to be remarked upon throughout the play. The Deputy (Chris Woodward) grew from a submissive subject of Duke Vincentio (Tim Molyneux) to a complex character about whom the audience was conflicted. Woodward certainly mastered the balance between inducing shock and sympathy. Angelo's desperation was beautifully matched by Isabella's (Bridget Collins) quietly powerful struggle to decide whether to save her brother's life or her own dignity. Collins's delivery was brilliantly controlled as she spoke Isabella's monologue after a shocking scene of abuse with Angelo, and she captivated the audience whenever she was on stage.

This play was not all tragedy, however, being one of the 'Problem Plays', and did in fact contain some comedic scenes. One in particular was between the Duke and Lucio (Mike Clarke) near the end of the act, and certainly had the audience giggling as Lucio involved them in his correct suspicion that the friar that he was talking to was in fact the Duke himself in disguise. Shakespeare's language was manipulated very well here and brought new life to the scene.

In Act two we saw the meddling Duke really start to confuse things in true Shakespearean style. Molyneux's asides to the audience made a complicated series of events in the second Act easier to grasp, and the audience had no doubt that the Duke's intentions were honourable despite his surprising ways to assure all was well in Vienna at the end of the play.

Collins's portrayal truly grew in the second Act, with the emotional outburst to her brother's 'death', and the audience felt justice was served to all in the trial scene. Also mentionable was the comedy that was brought to this scene by Mistress Overdone (Carol Smith) and Pompey (Larry Saunders) who provided excellent background movement as nosey onlookers, popcorn included.

As one of the 'Problem Plays', the theme of justice runs throughout 'Measure for Measure', and it came to a summit in the last scene, in which the Company did excellently in conveying the 'tying-up' nature of the trial. And finally the mysterious end left the audience murmuring and questioning all the way out the door; was the Duke being genuine with his proposal, or was it another test of Isabella's morality? It certainly left me wondering, and it was a refreshing turn of events when suddenly everything seemed to be 'in the balance' again.

The production is in celebration of 400 years of Shakespeare ( and runs all week till Saturday 16th July


Tunbridge Wells Borough CouncilTrinity Theatre
Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN1 1JP
Registered Charity Number 1054547
Registered Company Number 3179063