Shakespeare's Villains at the Seymour Centre

Another good night at the theatre, though again I didn’t get quite what I was expecting. The concept is that Steven Berkoff chats to the audience about a number of Shakespeare’s villains, interspersed with acting significant scenes from each. The villains include most of the usual suspects – Iago, the Macbeths, Shylock and Richard III – along with some more controversial selections such as Hamlet, Coriolanus and Oberon.

The talk (which I gather is unscripted, but probably covers the same general areas each night) was partly psychological analysis of the characters, partly an actor’s perspective of playing them, partly theatrical traditions surrounding the plays and a bit of general “actor’s life” chit-chat (and bitchiness). This was more or less what I had expected (well, maybe not the chit-chat/bitchiness) and it was interesting, enjoyable and amusing.

I was a bit surprised, though, that when he was actually giving excerpts from the parts he did a lot of them over the top for laughs. This was particularly apparent with the Macbeth bit (where he did both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth) and with Hamlet (Hamlet, Gertrude and Polonius). I guess he has been doing this for a lot of years, and knows what will work for the audience. And it was undeniably funny. But I was glad he chose to do Coriolanus straight.

Post a Comment