Directed by Damien Ryan
Sport for Jove
Bella Vista Farm Park
Season: 17 December – 7 January
Everglades Gardens, Leura
Season: 14 – 29 January
Antony and Cleopatra - two preeminent figures who smatter school children's history books and ancient lore alike. Shakespeare had his own fascination with the couple, penning the play of their namesake that is rarely staged today. Sport for Jove are bringing the fiery tale to life in their festival of Shakespeare in the Park, directed by Damien Ryan - the time is ripe.
The play details the interpersonal and broader political relations machinated by Antony and Cleopatra. We see love, lust and infatuation cloud finer judgement, rippling with monumental impact. We seem to have a curiosity to see rulers and the famous in their most vulnerable state, behind closed doors. This play is the renowned duo exposed.
The role of Cleopatra is spearheaded by Camilla Ah Kin and she leaves you with no doubt that this is a knock-out of a female character. Shakespeare writes some great female characters, but no doubt he writes more great roles for men. What is delightful about Ah Kin's performance of Cleopatra, is her ability to be admirably fierce and yet evidently flawed. Ah Kin is so frenetic, filling the expansive outdoor stage with a radiating energy. A sparkling contradiction, fizzing with anger and wildly impulsive - Ah Kin is brilliant to watch. Christopher Stollery is Antony and he brings a fantastic contrast between him the fighter, and him the lover. We see him use a wonderful humour in his performance and yet his internal struggle is clear.
Damien Ryan incorporates the wonder of theatrical spectacle into the show that Sport for Jove does so well. This is what audiences love to see, the live magic pitched against a stunning outdoor backdrop. This is effected particularly well in the battle scenes, with flags billowing through the space and actors yelling and charging in warfare.
It’s a bit of a travesty really that one of the most powerhouse and complex female characters written by Shakespeare isn’t often seen on the stage. Now’s your chance to see Antony and the poly-faceted Cleopatra in the flesh. Sport for Jove’s Shakespeare in the Park has been playing at Bella Vista Farm Park and is soon to be travelling to Leura, to continue to illuminate the outdoors with a delightful evening of theatre.