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All’s Well That Ends Well
Antony and Cleopatra
As You Like It
The Comedy of Errors
Coriolanus
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Henry IV, part 1
Henry IV, part 2
Henry V
Henry VI, part 1
Henry VI, part 2
Henry VI, part 3
Henry VIII
Julius Caesar
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Macbeth
Measure for Measure
The Merchant of Venice
The Merry Wives of Windsor
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Much Ado About Nothing
Othello
Pericles
Richard II
Richard III
Romeo and Juliet
The Taming of the Shrew
The Tempest
Timon of Athens
Titus Andronicus
Troilus and Cressida
Twelfth Night
Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Winter’s Tale
Shakespeareana

Available versions

1972: Charlton Heston

1974: John Scoffield

1981: Jonathan Miller

1984: Lawrence Carra

2015: Jonathan Munby


Related

Macbeth, 1954: George Schaefer (extras)

2015: Shakespeare Uncovered, Season 2, Episode 5


Antony and Cleopatra
1981: Jonathan Miller

This is the BBC Shakespeare Plays version. As such, its production values are modest, but it gives a good deal of attention to the text, and the performances are of the highest caliber.

Colin Blakely’s Antony is somewhat softer and more approachable than either Heston’s lapidary hero or Richard Johnson’s complex and conflicted Roman who has “gone native” in Egypt. Here we see Antony more as a man caught by his appetites and circumstances in a situation far out of his depth. He lacks the gravity of the other two, but his internal reflections seem (to me) to be more genuine than theirs. It’s a performance crafted (in the best sense of the term) for the small screen.

There is something about Jane Lapotaire’s delivery of her lines that seems a mite on the whiny side, and I personally don’t find that very appealing. Then again, I’m not a huge fan of her work as Lady Macbeth either: there’s room for different opinion. Certainly she has the ability to create a nuanced performance, but on the whole I prefer Janet Suzman’s version.

As in a number of performances, Enobarbus is worth watching: his character is intrinsically so volatile that it can be played in a thousand different ways. Emrys James manages to craft a persona that is simultaneously intriguing and slightly repellent. Charmian seems more worldly and less vulnerable than some of the others one can see.

All in all, I think this is not the best version of the play available, and certainly not at the pinnacle of the BBC project. It is nevertheless easily good enough to justify the time and effort to watch it, and it will definitely shed light on the whole.


Agrippa: Anthony Pedley

Alexas: Darien Angadi

Antony: Colin Blakely

Canidius: John Paul

Charmian: Janet Key

Cleopatra’s Messenger: David Kincaid

Cleopatra: Jane Lapotaire

Clown: Jimmy Gardner

Dercetas: Alec Sabin

Dolabella: Geoffrey Collins

Enobarbus: Emrys James

Eros: Simon Chandler

Euphronius: George Howe

Iras: Cassie McFarlane

Lepidus: Esmond Knight

Mardian: Mohammad Shamsi

Menas: George Innes

Menecrates: Desmond Stokes

Messenger: Kevin Huckstep

Messenger: Michael Anthony

Octavia: Lynn Farleigh

Octavius Caesar: Ian Charleson

Pompeius: Donald Sumpter

Proculeius: David Neal

Scarus: Christopher Ettridge

Servant: John Eastham

Soldier: Frederick Warder

Soldier: Iain Rattray

Soldier: Michael Egan

Soldier: Pat Connell

Soothsayer: Howard Goorney

Thidias: Harry Waters

Ventidius: Jonathan Adams