Review by Ben Whitehouse, site user
Pericles is well worth going to see! Adrian Noble's final production as artistic director is a stunner.
Noble locates the play within the world of "A thousand and one nights" and the environment is certainly seductive.
The set, designed by Peter McKintosh and lit by Jean Kalman, offers a carpeted floor, a peninsular stage and a bevy of lamps to suggest Eastern magic.
On stage, turbaned musicians, complete with Greek clarinet and bouzouki, play Shaun Davey's score.
Pericles doesn't get presented that often and it is generally accepted that Shakespeare only wrote the last three acts - the first two are said to be written by George Wilkins.
If there was collaboration between the two, the stitching together of the plot has been effectively done.
Shakespeare's later plays seem to turn on familial relationships, particularly of fathers and their daughters.
Ray Fearon has a monumental task in playing Pericles. He must play love with a subtlety that one would expect from a lover like Romeo, but with the intensity and pain of a Lear-like reconciliation.
Fearon has a mountain to climb and he does it with touching believability. The supporting cast double and sometimes treble roles up but this doesn't detract from the evening's magic.
All the best elements from Shakespeare's plays are here; the storms like those from The Tempest, the thwarted love like that from Romeo and Juliet and the reconciliation similar to that in The Winter's Tale.
The play is a glorious celebration of the redemptive power of love. Kananu Kirimi beautifully fleshes out the role of Marina.
The scene where she and Pericles are reunited made me weep with joy!
The ending is also spectacular, I won't spoil it but you have to see it to share in the beauty of it.
If I had the money I'd drag all my friends to see this show, I'll certainly be back to see it again soon!
The Pericles will be showing at the RST in Stratford between 19 August - 2 November 2002.
For more information and for performance times, follow the link on the left to the RSC website.