Elliott Wallis is a drama student who lives in Stratford. He attends the RSC regularly taking full advantage of the RSC Key.
Sir Trevor Nunn returns to the Royal Shakespeare Company with a stunning production of Ben Jonson’s satirical comedy, Volpone. Putting the play in a modern context, with iPhones, iPads and LED screens (in Stephen Brimson Lewis’s sleek, stylish, and minimalist set), shows so obviously how relevant the play is to today.
Henry Goodman is outstanding in the title role. His performance is like a masterclass in acting,switching so effortlessly from the supposedly dying Volpone, to an Italian salesman, or cockney guard. He has a talent and onstage energy that very few actors have and this production gives him a chance to really impress.
Plotting with Volpone throughout the play is his assistant, Mosca. Orion Lee’s slightly wooden and awkward performance at times feels forced and unnatural, though there are moments later on in the play where the robotic nature of his performance fits with the character and the situation. He shines most during the scenes in the court, but during his scenes with Volpone he is overshadowed by the overwhelming nature of Goodman’s performance, and it feels like he is trying too hard.
There are lots of strong performances from this very talented Company. Annette McLaughlin’s self-obsessed Lady Politic Would-Be (followed around by a small team of assistants and a camera man), and Colin Ryan’s American traveller, Peregrine, are both genius character inventions, and superbly executed. I must also mention the comic performances of Voltore (Miles Richardson), Corbaccio (Geoffrey Freshwater) and Corvino (Matthew Kelly), the three gullible businessmen whom Volpone and Mosca trick into thinking are each Volpone’s heir.
This production shines as the best of the current RSC season, throwing Jonson’s play into the 21st century. With two of Britain’s best, directing and starring in the title role, it couldn’t possibly be anything but brilliant.
There are a limited number of BP £5 tickets left for Volpone. Make sure you grab them before they are gone!