Theater Review: The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Redux, at the Royal Shakespeare Company

About six weeks ago, I saw the RSC’s latest production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona (you can read my review of that performance). I was able to see it again today, at one of its last performances, which was also used as a camera rehearsal for tomorrow’s broadcast live to cinemas.

I suggest you see my full review of the first performance I saw to learn about this production, but I wanted to make a few comments here about seeing it a second time. As I suggested in July, it’s a shame that this play had such a short run, and that the RSC essentially ignores it on their website. It’s a bright, intelligent production, with youthful vigor and a dynamic cast. It’s a play that doesn’t take itself seriously, but that deals with both comic and serious situations.

I noted that the first part of the play was much longer than the second; seeing it again, this seemed a bit odd. This can be explained by a minor set change, but it does unbalance the experience. Seeing a first part which is around an hour and a half, then as second that’s merely 45 minutes, just feels odd.

One change I noted was in the lighting. In a scene which is set in a disco in Milan, there were bright banks of light on either side of the stage. In my first review, I said:

“Sitting on the side of the stage, I was blinded during some scenes by three bright banks of lights on the other side, one at each level of the theater. I’ve sat in that location for several plays in the theater, and never noticed the lights to be a bother.”

They didn’t use those lights this time, either because of the filming, or because they realized that they were, well, annoying.

It’s too late to see this on stage now; the last performance is tomorrow, the one that will be broadcast to cinemas. If you can, go see it. It’s a fun play, one that isn’t performed often, and one that, in this production at least, deserves more attention.

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