Measure for Measure Almeida Theatre 24 February

*****

The girl at the ticket desk said they’d sent my ticket out to me and the theatre did not look as full as I expected (given that I thought I’d got the last ticket for this show).

But it was wonderful once it began!  Walls revolved to make insides and outsides and prison cells, and the characters confronted each other in consecutive pairs over (or occasionally without) a table:  Angelo and Isabella, Isabella and Claudio, Friar Ludovico and Isabella.  As Isabella, Anna Maxwell Martin burned as a pale flame in a black dress, sometimes flickering humanly when caught by a draught, while for once the comic scenes with Elbow (Tony Turner) were funny!  In fact there was a great deal of laughter from the audience at appropriate points throughout the play.  And the lucid direction kep the thing moving triumphantly forward.

Another picture from the same place...

Rory Kinnear played Angelo as a bureaucrat presented with a chance to go astray and abuse his power without becoming any less the constrained and timid thing he was, and it was highly convincing.  Through the course of the performance, the Duke of Ben Miles descended from being the benign if absent father to a second-rate showman, flickering this way and that to try to make his plot come out…

At the end, the Duke said to Isabella that she had to marry him and she stood, leaning forward and silent, perhaps her mouth twitched a little…

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