On Friday I went to see The Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Everyman, Liverpool.
Possibly Shakespeare’s first play, it has been dragged forward in time to the summer of 1966 and a world of powder blue suits, vinyl records and hippy bands of outlaws.
And it works, for the most part.
I particularly liked the use of records for letters. The opening of the play incorporates the record player and it’s a technique used throughout the play. It ties the original script and the musical elements of the adaptation together really well.
The musical demonstration of the differences between life in Verona and life in Milan was inspired, fun and very colourful.
I also liked the ending. Staying away from spoilers, that part of the final scene was handled well, and the closing of the play was done in a way that gave the leading ladies more power than they were given by the Bard in the original script.
The choice to have a lady playing Thurio was interesting, bearing in mind the other themes of the play, though considering the very strong bromance between Valentine and Proteus, it may have been a deliberate nod to gender fluidity.
And, as always, Launce and Crab, the dog, somewhat stole the show.
I’m not sure how well the apparent dance off between Thurio and Valentine worked, though I understand why it was done in this way, tying it in with the rest of the production. Also, in some of the opening scenes, the actors were a little quiet and difficult to hear but this didn’t remain an issue for very long.
Altogether though it was a good, fun interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays, interesting on its own for showing his journey as a playwright. A comedy with dark elements put into a technicolour world where people sing and dance.
Copyright D M Day, 2016