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All's Well that Ends Well - One4Review

This Shakespeare production is not one that I know very well, it apparently has the reputation of being a ‘problem play’.  We are accustomed to Shakespearian productions being updated and this version of ‘Alls well that ends well’ is no exception.  Ariel Productions based at Cambridge University specialise in staging Shakespearian and renaissance drama.  The company have used 1950’s costumes and ‘Rock and Roll’ songs in an interesting and entertaining way. The tiny performance area was unfortunately made even smaller by the permanent placement of the band ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’, Simon Jackson, Steffan Jones and Ben Lucock along with all their equipment. They were frequently used as part of the action but had to be worked round. Not knowing the storyline, well I got a little confused at times. If I hadn’t read the programme just before the start of the performance I might have been even more confused. This apart, I enjoyed the show and liked the portrayal of all the different characters. The inclusion of ‘Rock and Roll’ numbers added humour and an extra dimension to the production.  Helena (Ruth Abbott) the central character follows her heart and almost moves heaven and earth to gain the love of Bertram (Brooke Morriswood) who is equally determined not to have anything to do with her.  Aided by Bertram’s mother (Avril Sands), the King (Duncan Barrett) and Diana (Catherine Kitsis) the Florentine woman Bertram attempts to woo, Helena is able to fullfil the seemingly impossible conditions placed on her, before becoming accepted into Bertram’s arms and heart. The role of Parolles is the centre of most of the comedy played whole-heartedly by Joe Thomas who seems to be having a great time. Had this production had a larger performance area it would have been easier on the cast but would loose the intimacy and sense of being a fly on the wall. ***

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