So finally yesterday it was Cymbeline’s Press Night and this morning we have the Production Photos and the first reviews and tweets about it.
Photos: Tristram Kenton, Ellie Kurttz and Alastair Muir
Sources: images by Ellie Kurttz courtesy of RSC Press Office, I’m grateful they gave me the permission to use them – and reviews.
The first two reviews rate Cymbeline 2 and 3 stars only, but they both agree on the good performances of Bethan Cullinane and Oliver:
- It’s less Shakespeare, more Ab Fab: Quentin Letts first night review of Cymbeline dailymail.co.uk
“[…] The central character of Innogen remains unchanged and is played with fey tenderness by Bethan Cullinane. The most successful scene is the bedroom moment when intruder Iachimo (Oliver Johnstone) spies on her heaving bosom. Shakespeare’s verse is here allowed to rule unchallenged by visual stunts. […]”
- Cymbeline review at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon – ‘over-loaded’ with production photos thestage.co.uk:
“[…] None of this overshadows the fact that Imogen is one of the best female roles in the canon, far more interesting than Rosalind, and Bethan Cullinane goes at it with gusto. Oliver Johnstone makes an excellent Iachimo but elsewhere there’s a lot of pectoral acting going on […]”
- Here another one which criticizes the play, but praises the three main performances: Theater Review: Cymbeline, by the Royal Shakespeare Company mcelhearn.com
“[…] with some long scenes with only two characters (such as the scene where Iachimo is in Innogen’s bedroom as she sleeps; one of the best scenes in the play, because there’s no cruft, just great acting and great language), […] I found Innogen to be breathtaking in her performance, and certainly the best actor in this play […] Oliver Johnstone as Iachimo was also excellent both as the full-of-himself Italian come to seduce Innogen, and the contrite prisoner at the end of the play.[…]”
- While this 3 May review rates it with 4 stars: RSC Cymbeline by William Shakespeare Stratford-upon-Avon stratford-upon-avon-theatre.blogspot.it
“[…] Violent and compelling, vibrant and challenging, a new production for a new era. 4 Stars […] It has something of the heightened, hallucinatory tone of graphic novel inspired dramas such as Channel 4’s Utopia, which, coupled with powerful, nuanced performances, particularly from Bethan Cullinane, Hiran Abeysekera and Oliver Johnstone, produces a challenging, compelling and moving interpretation. […] Bethan Cullinane is an engaging Innogen capable of subtle characterisation and swaggering bravado, Hiran Abeysekera is an able Postumus, while Oliver Johnstone is a compelling silver-tongued Iachimo. […] This is a production that may divide opinion, but I thought it was both interesting and enjoyable. […]”
- And there, another 4* review by the bible of Theatre, with a very good comment on Oliver’s performance:plus more production photos: Cymbeline (Royal Shakespeare Theatre) whatsonstage.com
“[…] The most effective performance, however, comes from Oliver Johnstone as the Italian dandy whose wager against Innogen’s chastity sparks a destructive chain of events that powers much of the action. Johnstone does Machiavellian machinations and heart-rending remorse equally impressively and turns his character Iachimo from a devious plot device into a rich source of drama. […]”
- And 3* again, but with a good comment on Oliver: Cymbeline whatsonlive.co.uk
“[…] There are fabulous, stand-out performances from Oliver Johnstone as the slimy and slightly terrifying Roman creepster Iachimo, and from Bethan Cullinane as the unwittingly sensuous and very put-upon Innogen. […]”
Not forgetting the good opinions on Twitter:
- Mark James: “@TheRSC Lots of great performances, but Marcus Griffiths bragging boorish Cloten & Oliver Johnstone’s oily & villanous Iachimo stood out! @@“
- Uneven Stephen: “@ He’s one of the best things about/in it! “
- Richard Hopper in response to the previous tweet: “@TheBardOfTysoe @ForOJohnstone the scene in the bedroom is the best scene in the whole performance.“
- Elaine Goodfellow: “Tight ship tonight at #RSCCymbeline. Ever-strong ensemble, with a stand out Iachimo and great pipes on @jkcooney! – Worth the second visit!“
- Warwicks What’s On: “Amazing performances from Bethan Cullinane & Oliver Johnstone in @ ‘s Cymbeline. Dark, funny & inventively designed show #
- Warwicks What’s On: “REVIEW! Amazing performances from Bethan Cullinane & Oliver Johnstone in @TheRSC’s Cymbeline whatsonlive.co.uk/warwickshire/e“
Read more in the Reviews page.