Produced by Cheek by JowlPericles is one of Shakespeare's strangest and most heart rending plays. Pericles, shipwrecked on the Mediterranean navigates a stormy sea of pirates, magicians, brothels, kidnappers, tournaments, plots against his life… and divine intervention from the Goddess Diana. Incest, treachery, murder, love, joy all explode in this giant theatrical firework … the embers dim and glow in one of the greatest and most moving scenes Shakespeare ever wrote, Pericles recognition of his long lost daughter Marina.
Cast in order of speaking
|Simon Dormandy||Antiochus / 2nd Fisherman / 3rd Knight / Philemon / Leonine / Lysimachus|
|Amanda Harris||Antiochus' Daughter / 3rd Fisherman / 2nd Knight / Marina|
|Andrew Collins||Pericles / 1st Pirate / 1st Gentleman|
|Martin Turner||Helicanus / Simonides / 2nd Sailor / 3rd Pirate / Pander / 2nd Gentleman|
|Duncan Bell||Cleon / 1st Fisherman / 1st Knight / 1st Sailor / Cerimon / 2nd Pirate / Boult|
|Sadie Shimmin||Dionyza / Thaisa|
|Dierdre Edwards||Lychorida / Ephesian Lady / Bawd / Goddess Diana|
|Music||James Antony Ellis|
|Choreography||Sara von Beers|
|Company Stage Manager||Nick Kidd|
|Company Movement||Ilan Reichel|
|Company Voice||Charmain Hoare|
I can't think of a better introduction to Shakespeare than Cheek by Jowl's Pericles. It has all the virtues of simplicity and economy without forfeiting any of the play's intrinsic richness. Not that, as in much of the Bard, the way to reconciliation and spiritual fulfilment is not strewn with enough risible coincidences and plot twists to undermine the most serious of intents. But capitalising on their main asset, actors devoid of pomposity, who can turn a phrase with sly humour and unaffected sincerity. Cheek by Jowl render Pericles' and his family's traumatic journeys into something cathartic, affecting and ultimately healing. Yes, the Spartan setting does sometimes pall, but using gongs, two metal sheets, a couple of wooden boxes and a winding sheet, this is proof positive that Shakespeare, used with imagination and good nature, can still touch the heart strings. Carole Woods, City Limits. 8 January 1985
Mr Jones also directed the handsome recent BBC Pericles, bolding treating the whole play with majesty and breadth, as though it really were as rich as The Winter's Tale, Cymbeline and The Tempest, instead of merely cutting out a track for them; in the process he revealed definitively, I think, that it is not. Cheek by Jowl, the touring ensemble of eight actors currently at the Donmar Warehouse, last week followed up their Vanity Fair with a aversion fo Shakespeare and AN Other's serial adventure, directed by Declan Donnellan, which must be one of the most lucid ever performed. Cheek by Jowl would make sense of the plot of the Way of the World.
It will come as no surprise to those who enjoyed Vanity Fair that Shakespeare's narrator Gower is dismantled and his part divided between the cast, that a cohesive buoyant style is sustained and that design and narrative are linked throughout. Bleached turquoise wooden screens are topped with a tympanum bearing the round face of a god which parts in the final scene of multiple renewal to form a triptych bearing the mage of Diana hovering in maternal benediction between the blazing sun and the sickle moon.
Music (James Antony Ellis) and design (Nick Ormerod) are one. A small orchestra of instruments - metal discs, gongs, tubular bells, bamboo shafts, a tin trumpet, cassette player, flute - is suspended from frames at either side; two thunder sheets for the various storms that afflict the Prince of Tyres' journey become part of the scenery itself when they form the wall dividing this world from the next, behind which the body of Pericles' young Queen is buried at sea.
About the actors there is little need be said since cool teamwork - projection of the text is paramount, but individual inventiveness is never disruptive and the full-heated reconciliation of Pericles (Andrew Collins) and his daughter (Amanda Harris) is wonderfully moving. In this scene the miraculous world of Leones, Hermione, Perdita, Imogen, Prospero and Miranda is fully revealed for the first time. Michael Ratcliffe, The Observer. 20 January 1985