Antony & Cleopatra (Punchbug Productions)

Shakespeares Antony and CleopatraVenue: King Street Theatre (Newtown NSW), Jun 4 – 15, 2013
Playwright: William Shakespeare
Director: Ira Seidenstein
Actors: Berynn Schwerdt, Denby Waller, Brinley Meyer

Theatre review
A big question that comes out of this production is whether a show should be put on at all when faced with serious budget constraints. There are some set and costume decisions that prove difficult to overlook, but what remains is a big group of actors (of wildly varying capabilities) relying only on their voices and bodies.

Antony is played by Berynn Schwerdt, whose initial entrance is disappointing, as his appearance in no way matches one’s imagination of the character, or indeed classic movie interpretations of it. Eventually though, the actor wins us over with an extremely committed and thoroughly rehearsed performance, in spite of much weaker co-players and a dismal lack of chemistry with his leading lady. His command of The Bard’s incredibly demanding lines are truly breathtaking.

It was unfortunate that the first (of three) hours felt disjointed and unfocused, but the cast eventually warmed up, lost their nerves and started relishing in their roles. It is only when they are enjoying the play and losing themselves in their individual moments that the audience is drawn in and suspended in time. Shakespeare is not everyone’s cup of tea, but witnessing actors in states of bliss performing their hearts out is always a sight to behold.