‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ is a major triumph

2009-10-26 00:00

THE National Theatre production of Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well is a delicious theatrical treat.

It’s the second of four productions being staged at the London theatre, which are being screened at Cinema Nouveau Gateway, and follows the phenomenal Phedre, starring Helen Mirren, which was screened in July.

Described as one of the Bard’s problem plays, All’s Well That Ends Well, tells the story of the feisty Helena (Michelle Terry) who falls for the handsome but arrogant Bertram (George Rainsford).

To gain his hand in marriage, she cures the ailing King of France (Oliver Ford Davies) of a malady that his surgeons believed incurable, but instead of accepting her, Bertram is outraged to be saddled with a bride he considers to be beneath him.

He decides to head off to war in Italy, sends Helena home to his mother and pens a letter saying that until his bride gets a prized ring from his hand and becomes pregnant with his child, he will stay away. Helena, however, refuses to give up hope and sets out on a quest to win her man.

Terry is fantastic as Helena and Ford Davies in fine form as the king. But the two characters who made the play for me were Clare Higgins as the kindly Countess of Rossillion, Bertram’s mother, and Conleth Hill as cowardly Parolles.

Directed by Marianne Elliott, this production is a triumph. It is seldom that we get the chance to enjoy theatre of this calibre in South Africa, so make sure you don’t miss the screening at 8 pm on October 28 at Gateway’s Cinema Nouveau.

• Take Pride Month concludes at Cinema Nouveau with the screening of the Salvador Dali biopic Little Ashes, starring Twilight star Robert Pattinson. Set in Madrid in 1922, the film tells the story of the early years of the legendary surreal artist when, as a university student, his blend of shyness and rampant exhibitionism attracted the attention of two of the university’s socio-cultural elite, Federico Garcia Lorca and Luis Bunuel.

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