Aegeon of Syracuse has come to Ephesus to seek his son, who went in search of his missing twin and mother months ago. Too bad that Ephesus has just declared war on Syracuse, and will ... See full summary »
King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »
A historical adaptation of John Gay's 18th Century ballad opera, exuberantly performed for BBC television. With its story of a condemned highwayman, it brings to life the greed, lust and ... See full summary »
A send-up of the bawdy life of Romantic composer/piano virtuoso Franz Liszt, with ubiquitous phallic imagery and a good portion of the film devoted to Liszt's "friendship" with fellow ... See full summary »
A millionaire and a million-dollar prostitute, a star-maker and a nation-killer, a woman whose lusts are as cold as graveyard snow...Five of the most powerful people in the world, gathered ... See full summary »
In the 1940s in the small town of Jupiter Hollow, two sets of identical twins are born in the same hospital on the same night. One set to a poor local family and the other to a rich family ... See full summary »
This film is an adaptation of the Shakespeare play "Titus Andronicus." Titus returns victorious from war, only to plant the seeds of future turmoil for himself and his family. Who says revenge is sweet?
When Sir John Falstaff decides that he wants to have a little fun he writes two letters to a pair of Window wives: Mistress Ford and Mistress Page. When they put their heads together and ... See full summary »
David Hugh Jones
When the Duke of Vienna takes a mysterious leave of absence and leaves the strict Angelo in charge, things couldn't be worse for Claudio, who is sentenced to death for premarital sex. His ... See full summary »
Aegeon of Syracuse has come to Ephesus to seek his son, who went in search of his missing twin and mother months ago. Too bad that Ephesus has just declared war on Syracuse, and will instantly put to death any Syracusean found within their borders unless a ransome's paid. Meanwhile, the son, Antipholus, and his servant, Dromio (also an identical twin), keep running into strangers who seem to know them... Written by
This play is not as feeble as, say, "Two Gentlemen of Verona," but it's not terribly strong either. Directors have a tendency to throw in distractions to up the level of interest: Trevor Nunn threw in nine songs, Greg Mosher added a clown and a drag queen, and here James Cellan Jones throws in a mime troupe.
I don't care what his rationale was, there are three things in life worth avoiding: folk dancing, incest and commedia dell'arte. The mimes are superfluous, annoying and nowhere near as interesting as they are supposed to be.
Getting past that, this is neither the strongest nor the weakest of the BBC Shakespeares. The set is a cheerful stylization of a tiny town on the Aegean, with a surprising amount of atmosphere. It's easy on the eyes and is also built in the round, so no matter which way the camera looks, you remain solidly within the physical setting.
Cyril Cusack and Wendy Hiller get the acting honors, with a tip of the hat to Charles Gray.
The master and servant pair from Syracuse are relaxed and benign, those from Ephesus are sour and prone to violence. Since the TV camera would not forgive two sets of actors pretending to be identical twins, one single actor plays both Antipholi (?), and another both Dromios. Michael Kitchen labors over a case of flu to differentiate his characters. Roger Daltrey is sincere and good-natured, but way out of his depth here and best passed over in silence.
The trouble, as so often with farce, is the pace. Though things start off promisingly and finish well, that droop in the middle is serious.
So, not a show for the ages, but not the worst thing ever to happen to the Bard.
4 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?