There are moments of sheer brilliance and beauty during Pericles Redux, which, as the name implies, takes a remix approach to Shakespeare’s original.
Those moments are when the youthful, energetic and talented cast play it straight, emphasising the pathos and emotion of the original whilst offering striking visual and physical theatric interpretations of a storm-wracked ship, a burial at sea or visions of the goddess Diana.
If only the director had stuck to this vision, rather than schizophrenically jumping between that and embarrassingly cringeworthy pantomime. Yes, the majority of Shakespeare’s work contains moments of light relief and clowning. But to undermine an impeccably-choreographed scene with a throwaway line in the name of humour doesn’t work. Nor do the sixth-form revue shenanigans that begin to appear with depressing regularity throughout.
Other reviewers, and most of the audience, seem to disagree and have lapped this up, and I can agree to a point – the cast are excellent throughout and the stage direction is tight and visually striking. However, the misplaced and laboured comedy effectively ruined what could have been one of the stand-out shows of this year’s festival.
A frustratingly missed opportunity.