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Posts Tagged ‘Mike Poulton’

It is good to see Mike Poulton writing again for the RSC after the staging in 2005/06 of his two part adaptation of THE CANTERBURY TALES. The age of knights and chivalry is once more the theme for his latest adaptation, the epic MORTE D ‘ARTHUR. Just as Chaucer provided a rich theatrical event, thanks to the adapting skills of Mike Poulton and the staging skills of Greg Doran (and team of assistants ), so Malory provides -thanks to the same successful partnership -an evening (or matinee!) in the theatre which is equally rich and enjoyable.

Unlike THE CANTERBURY TALES, we now have just one play which lasts with interval three and a quarter hours. An epic indeed, but this production is fast paced, thrilling, spectacular and a feast for the eye.

I shall comment more in later blogs, but it is a nostalgic experience as at times the staging reminds one of both THE HISTORIES in 2006/08 and THE WARS OF THE ROSES in 1963/4.Whilst it is again a splendid company effort, mention must be made of Sam Troughton’s stunning performance as Arthur, beginning as a young man and by the end of a play an aged ruler who still has the strength to fight a battle and as death approaches, to give firm command as to the disposal of his sword, Excalibur.

This “new work from an old book ” has come at the right time of the journey being undertaken by this current ensemble. As with the other new productions this season, Michael Boyd’s visionary plans for an ensemble at work continue to bear much memorable theatrical fruit to be relished again and again. In MORTE D’ARTHUR, every member of the company seizes with relish the splendid dramatic possibilities suggested by the script. It is richly satisfying to see each actor being given a chance to shine and shine they do ! Like the former HISTORIES ensemble, and present ensemble colleagues in KING LEAR and ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA, this MORTE D’ARTHUR/ROMEO AND JULIET company provide ensemble work par excellence -just the kind Sir Peter Hall must have envisaged when he founded the RSC fifty years ago.

 Bravo indeed!

by Tony Boyd-Williams

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