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Cymbeline, the King of Britain, is angry that his daughter Imogen has chosen a poor (but worthy) man for her husband. So he banishes Posthumus, who goes to fight for Rome. Imogen (dressed as a boy) goes in search of her husband, who meanwhile has boasted to his pal Iachimo that Imogen would never betray him. And Iachimo's determined to prove him wrong. Written by
The BBC's intention is to put Shakespeare's plays on the screen, not to 'improve' them. Certainly I could argue that a little adaptation here or there, a few edits impossible on stage, and armies fighting out battles in outside locations would make the thing more enjoyable, but it really would be wrong for the BBC to have done this, even if they could afford to. What we have here is what Shakespeare wrote and we see it as he intended, with the limitations but also the opportunities for imaginative descriptions for an actor to get his teeth into. 'Cymbaline' is too long a play and relies as often is the case in Shakespeare on luck, mix-ups and quickness to mistrust. Unfortunately it does it rather lumberingly at times. And how anyone could mistake Helen Mirren for a boy, let alone her own father not recognise her is dodgy enough; the BBC could at least have disguised her a little more! Overall the production was good, with the performances of Mirren and Gough and Jesson particularly working for me. I thought Lindsay good enough, but Pennington sadly subdued on all but a few occasions. In short, a play I'm not fond of was done almost as well as I could imagine it being done.
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