Woo hoo! The sound I make on learning that my birthday treat in May this year will be to go and see Patrick Stewart in The Merchant of Venice with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford upon Avon. It's directed by Rupert Goold who also directed him in the version of Macbeth recently broadcast on tv, and whose version of Romeo and Juliet at the RSC last year almost converted me into liking it. He's rather good.
Now Merchant is not one of my favourite plays, this probably has something to do with having to study it for O Level English Lit many moons ago, but I could probably listen to Patrick S read the telephone directory and still be enthralled. I've always found the character of Antonio a tiresome wimp and I couldn't care less what happens to him, and how badly is Shylock treated? (I know, historical context blah, blah, blah, but still...). And what the heck does a woman like Portia see in Bassanio? I think she should have just set up her own legal practice and told all the men to take a running jump. David's never seen the play so it will be interesting to see what he makes of it.
What has caused some 'gasp, shock, horror' however is the price of the tickets. We're going on a Tuesday evening and it cost £92 for the two of us! £92!!! I dread to think what it would be on a Saturday. Talk about a pound of flesh... what are the RSC thinking? And why don't members get even a small discount on tickets? I'm not going to moan, I'm really looking forward to it (possibly the only trip to the theatre that will happen this year at those prices!), but crikey that's expensive.
And I thought the RSC were trying to make Shakespeare less elitist...