Article 19 delivered a simple, yet very well performed and sufficiently humorous rendition of William Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure in the up to date style typical of the society.
Measure For Measure Is a play close to the hearts of Burn FM committee members such as ourselves, and we were more than satisfied to see that the hard work and dedication of our studio manager and mainstream co-ordinator had not been in vain, as Article 19 pulled off a compelling and amusing rendition of the little known Shakespearian comedy, following the justice, virtue, mercy and sin of the Viennese nobility.
Unlike previous guild productions of Shakespearian works, Measure For Measure did not attempt to draw potential audience members in with an outlandish setting or addition which so often skirts the thin line between working and falling flat on its face. Instead, the producers simply opted for a more up to date setting and costume, keeping the play relevant to the audience whilst avoiding distraction from the bard’s scriptwriting. The debating hall was transformed into a simple yet well-structured office, desk upstage centre and raised, making for an easy to follow setting which made good use of the space given.
The standard of acting amongst students in the guild is always relatively high, and Measure or Measure was no different in this respect. All cast members performed their roles with eloquence and charm. An articulate Sam Forbes portrayed the scheming and lecherous Lord Angelo, with Olivia O’Neill performing comfortably his target of lust, the virtuous and strong willed Isabella. Maya Whatton deserves credit for taking the role of Escalus and converting him into the archetypal high powered businesswoman under the new persona of Escala, whilst there was a solid performance from Jordan Chilvers as the straight edged Provost. However, there were three standout performers present. Firstly, praise must go to Chavonne Brown for his portrayal of the Duke of Vienna, carrying the significant authority of a Duke in combination with the duke’s soft hearted alter ego of friar Lodowick. Second praise must go to Danny Hetherington, displaying Lucio just as he should have been, a carefree Nobleman with too big a mouth. Both of these men performed excellently and credit must go to them for the delivery of their lines, a challenge for the audience as much as it is for the actors. However, far and away the most outstanding performance on the stage came from Danny Southern as comedic keystone character, Pompey. Southern portrayed the pimp with energy and passion unlike any other onstage, flitting between Shakespearian dialogue and colloquial phrases seamlessly, and never failing to deliver a laugh through his comic timing and delivery. There can be no doubt that Southern commanded every scene he was in, and this coupled with his outstanding and hilarious improvisational berating of the audience prior to the second act ensured that he was far and away the standout performer.
Measure For Measure is one Shakespeare’s lesser known plays – and famously one of his ‘problem plays’ because of its unclear genre classification, there was always the danger that the performance could lose the focus of the audience who did not know the plot prior to watching the performance, ourselves included. This however, proved not to be the case, and whilst there were moments of confusion, perhaps due to the odd unclearly delivered line or simply the thrust staging which inevitably allowed some audience members to see and hear certain fragments of the play better than others. This did not however, detract from the overall success of the piece.
Ultimately, we came away from the performance satisfied at having witnessed an engaging, humorous well directed piece of student theatre, with an assortment of well performed roles, and we have no doubt that Article 19 will continue to deliver such high standard pieces in future.