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Antony and Cleopatra
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Top Customer Reviews
Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra are both middle-aged, looking back on past glories and haunted with the awareness of failing powers. They are among Shakespeare's greatest creations, and Johnson and Suzman capture superbly their complexities. Corin Redgrave's Octavius, however, is more controversial. Certainly, Octavius is a calculating politician: but should he really be so ice cold, and devoid of emotion? This presentation seriously unbalances the play. The wonderful scene where he expresses grief on hearing of Antony's death here passes for nothing, for we simply cannot believe that Octavius - as presented here - is capable of feeling anything at all.
The other problem with this production is the text: most Shakespeare plays can stand a bit of judicious cutting, but the cuts here are so extensive, that the text is effectively mangled. Would another forty minutes or so really have over-taxed the viewer's attention span?
Nunn elegantly portrays the difference between Rome and Alexandria. Rome is presented as if in a bare, large, air-conditioned, brightly lit room. The background is pure white. Caesar and the Romans look clear eyed and freshly showered, shaved, with hair cut short and neatly combed, wearing pure white robes, so unwrinkled they might have been starched. Everything is simple and transparent, there is right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood, and one's duty is to do right. That is, one's duty is to faithfully serve Octavius Caesar.
In Egypt nothing is pure or simple. The air feels thick and objects appear hazy, as if seen through a fine gauze. Intimate rooms glow warmly with gold, silken-satin colored fabrics, richly embroidered tapestries, and immense luxuriously upholstered cushions. Ancient flutes and harps provide music, the moody food of love.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays. I doubt many people make that statement, but since my first reading of it at age 18, I hold it very close to my mind and heart. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Daniel B.
This, the Royal Shakespeare Company production of a little viewed play, was produced in the early to mid 70s. It boasts of flashes of brilliance. Read morePublished on March 8, 2013 by The Peripatetic Reader
Being a TV version of a famous RSC production, this is indeed (mainly) an excellent version of the play, with the actors well into their roles by means of stage experience. Read morePublished on July 2, 2010 by Richard di Calatrava
I bought this to show my students who had voted to read Antony and Cleopatra and got lost in the complicated plot and "young English." (I'll never let them choose again. Read morePublished on November 22, 2009 by Luckyone
I read elsewhere that this was the best rendering of the famous play available on DVD. The performances and the appearance seemed very dated and almost amateurish.Published on December 24, 2008 by J. S. Beardall
If you enjoy good acting you will like this version of Antony and Cleopatra. It doesn't have much technology and the sets are very simple, but it has much to offer in characters... Read morePublished on November 27, 2008 by Amateur Stargazer
It was filmed for TV and is a bit lacking in visual quality but very much worth seeing for the performances - I enjoyed seeing a young Ben Kingsley in a minor role - also Patrick... Read morePublished on July 21, 2008 by Peregrine Reader
I enjoyed this version of the great Shakespeare tragedy. Ms. Suzeman was superb as Cleopatra, black face and all. Read morePublished on September 3, 2007 by Mark Watson