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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.

Acting legend Sir Ian McKellen is touring the region next celebrating his 80th birthday and raising money for regional theatre. Arts editor Andrew Clarke finds out more about this ‘must-see’ event

Ipswich boy and Strictly Come Dancing favourite Robin Windsor explains how wanting to finish at the top of his game and the lure of a permanent natural tan convinced him to waltz into the sunset.

Within minutes of this witty and revealing play starting, you can see what attracted Private Eye’s Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, to write this extraordinary piece of professional biography.

Catching up with the Dreamboys on tour before their Ipswich and Kings Lynn dates, Lynne Mortimer asked them a couple of pertinent questions... oh, and a few frivolous ones too

SAS veteran turned TV star Ant Middleton is coming to Ipswich with his new Mind Over Muscle tour in 2019.

Named one of the best plays of all time for women, this was the right choice and the right time for the company to show it can do straight drama.

Political satire has a long, distinguished history in this country. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to Private Eye’s Ian Hislop and Nick Newman about their new play which shines a spotlight on a publisher who survived three libel trials in three days

A fictional meeting between two towering figures of the 20th century, The Habit of Art comes from the pen of another national treasure – Alan Bennett.

Based on the 1980s film of the same name is the UK musical tour starring Mica Paris, Keith Jack and Jorgie Porter.

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