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Norfolk Tourism Awards

Review: The Merchant of Venice, Cambridge Arts Theatre

PUBLISHED: 15:53 30 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:53 30 August 2018

Pictures from The Merchant of Venice

Pictures from The Merchant of Venice

Perhaps one of the most accessible of Shakespeare’s plays, The Merchant of Venice is a story that is engaging now as when it was first written.

And this production by Globe on Tour draws out some of the play’s most interesting themes that resonate today – particularly how society values women.

With plenty of pace, the eight strong cast bowl the story along as the abused Jew Shylock makes a deal with the merchant Antonio that has dramatic repercussions.

Meanwhile the wealthy heiress Portia is wondering which suitor might choose one of three caskets – of gold, silver and lead – and win her hand in marriage.

Casting a woman in the role of Shylock and a slightly older woman in the role of the young maid Portia perhaps makes a statement that resonates with a feminist reading of the play – whatever the thought process behind it the casting works well as the quality of the acting shines through.

There is plenty of well delivered humour as the story develops towards the famous court scene where Shylock is stymied in his determination to have his pound of flesh.

The final scenes where the great reveal reminds the male characters not to underestimate their women are well executed and the music – performed by the talented cast – is an enjoyable part of the show.

A fun, energetic and thought provoking rendition of one of the Bard’s finest works.

Are you the fairest of them all? Auditions for a truly glittering role are taking place on Monday – and producers are looking for a local girl to play the part.

Contemporary dance choreographer James Wilton is renowned for his athletic dance works now DanceEast is staging the premiere of his latest performance The Storm. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to him about mixing spectacle with food for thought

Awful Auntie by David Walliams has been a huge hit in book form with young children since its release in 2014.

As an EastEnders superfan, seriously I haven’t missed an episode since I was eight years old and I’m now 23, when I heard Sid Owen had been cast as Hook I was more excited than Phil Mitchell in a brewery.

The musical Once has proved itself to be a contemporary classic that tells an aspirational story full of tears and laughter. Arts editor Andrew Clarke speaks to director Peter Rowe and the cast as the play opens the New Wolsey’s autumn season

Stately homes, castles, ruins, windmills, gardens and historic boats are all welcoming visitors free of charge for this year’s Heritage Open Days.

The Barton Players are busy rehearsing for their comedy which is being staged next month in the village.

It’s a heart-warming and at times heart-rending performance by this wonderful cast admiringly led by the indomitable Roy Hudd.

HighTide opens next week and Suffolk writer and musician Tallulah Brown is unveiling her new play Songlines, which combines the joys of theatre with that of a live gig. She talks to arts editor Andrew Clarke

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