Review: The Merchant of Venice ☆☆☆☆

Review of Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’

The Oxford Culture Review

The Merchant of Venice is perhaps one of Shakespeare’s most famous, and most ambiguous, plays. The First Folio proclaimed it a comedy, with gender-swapping and other traits familiar to Shakespeare’s comedies. However, the relationship of the tormented Shylock to the surrounding characters, and the religious tensions that arise as a result, make it somewhat less clear-cut in contemporary performance. The Buskins production, in a stunning setting on Worcester College lake, was no exception to this with superbly balanced interaction between the comic and tragic throughout.

Worcester College lake ⓒ Merchant of Venice 2013 Worcester College lake ⓒ Merchant of Venice 2013

The outdoor stage yielded both significant bonuses and challenges: the backdrop of a setting sun as Portia and Bassanio declare their love for each other and the entire stage illuminated by candles after dark was nothing short of magical in effect. Director Lucie Dawkins had fully exploited the surroundings with a boat used to transport players to…

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