Theatre: Two Gentlemen of Verona


source:http://www.newstatesman.com

It was a long and fascinating story as to why I found myself at the Barbican Friday evening to see Nos do Morro's production of Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona. For the purposes of the blog I can attribute it to Dame Fortune and the fact that when I saw AfroReggae with Felicity she had a go at all those white men in the audience trying to dance which turned out to be a source of cheap laughs. After reading my blog, Paul suggested I should go and see this production. I should point out that Paul is another Paul and I am not writing about myself in the third person. It's not that kind of blog...

Anyway, Nos do Morro's production of Two Gentlemen of Verona is a real treat and full of so much energy that you can't help but like it. It is in Portuguese as well which means that I had no idea what they were saying (and the surtitles weren't a direct translation but rather the original Shakespeare text). But I wasn't going to let it bother me like it did in AfroReggae so I just ignored the surtitles after a while. It goes to show that you don't need language to understand passion and energy and excitement. Besides being Shakespeare, you know there is going to be mistaken identity, a woman dressed as a man, a comical subplot, maybe an attempted rape but all gets resolved rather quickly at the end for the better... So it is easy enough to work out where things are going...

This production relies on the actors to create not only the characters but set the scene and this is done with some simple but effective colourful materials and some strategically-placed hands over bare breasts... Traditional Brazilian music featured throughout. By the end of it you felt like it was as much a workout as it was a dramatic performance...

Of course, if you are familiar with Portuguese you are probably going to enjoy it even more (and laugh at the right spots with the jokes as many in the audience were able to do when I was there). But there was a lot to enjoy even without that. The story behind the company is extraordinary enough, but the performances and interpretation of this piece is well worth the effort. It runs until the end of this week.

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