The Winter's Tale
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There is one very obvious drawback to staging a theatre production outdoors, in December, at night, and Custom/Practice only find a partial solution to the whole temperature ‘issue’.
Weirdly, the frigid early court scenes of ‘The Winter’s Tale’ are the warmest parts of the show: a merry wood stove crackles during Act 1, and Act 2 takes place in a tent. The sunnier Bohemian section, though, takes place in a series of enchanting but totally unheated corners of this obscure nature reserve.
I was so cold by the end that survival instincts were beginning to override my critical faculties: I have a feeling director Suba Das’s slick pruning of the text rather neutered the Bohemian bits (no Autolycus!) but the brevity was definitely appreciated.
The acting is so so, but if you ignore your numbing extremities some beautiful tableaux unfold in this ’30s-styled production: Leontes mournfully listening to the radio in a glade; Hermione’s statue in the middle of a pond. There are duller as well as warmer ways to spend an evening.