Another fantastic actor in the play was Craig Gazey who played Launcelot. He had the audience laughing every time he was onstage. Craig Gazey used his body language to create very bold characteristics for Launcelot. When speaking Launcelot’s soliloquy, Craig Gazey used his body language to show how Launcelot was torn between two states of mind. His body jerked from side to side, to show how he was torn between his good conscience and his bad conscience. Other parts of the play when Launcelot’s body language seemed to stand out were when he was showing his dislike to his master, Shylock.
When Shylock gave him orders or spoke to him, he showed an air of boredom and impatience. His body was turned away from Shylock in disinterest and he always looked as though he wanted to leave as soon he could. Craig Gazey’s body language was never over powering, it accompanied his character fittingly. He used his gestures very effectively to express Launcelot’s feelings. His gestures where very large and sudden which definitely fit Launcelot’s personality as he seems to be someone who would always stand out. Craig Gazey used his voice to add to the comic appeal of his character.
He had a different accent to the other characters, which gave his character a slight edge. He varied his tone so he was always interesting to listen to. He delivered his lines perfectly and everything he said was understandable. When Launcelot was supposed to be the centre of attention, Craig Gazey made sure he was; it was impossible to be bored while he was speaking. When Launcelot was not the centre of attention, Craig Gazey fitted himself into the action well, complementing the other actors. Because Craig Gazey was always focused, it was easy and interesting to follow the action. He made Launcelot come alive; his performance was very believable.
Mary Charlton did an excellent job of choosing the costumes for the characters. Each character was always wearing something suitable for their personality and status. The costumes were not dull but they still fit easily into the play. They were not distracting from the action but they were something interesting to look at. The colours used in the play seemed to be very earthly colours mostly, like green or brown. This helped towards making sure the costumes were not overpowering the action. The whole stage area was used well and the actors could easily move around it. There was a bridge, which arched out into the audience.
This was one of the things that made the set different from sets in other theatres. The action was laid out very well; the actors never blocked each other. It was generally easy to see the action on stage. The space around the groundling’s area was also used at parts of the play. Actors entered the stage from there and some lines were spoken there. This added interest to the play as the action was always in a variety of places. The play was visually interesting as there were things happening in different places and the actors never seemed to stand still for very long. The lighting added to the experience as the whole audience was visible as well as the stage.
This meant that the actors had to communicate with the audience. The actors were always visible. As natural light was used to light the stage, nighttime couldn’t be shown through darkness. So, at parts in the play when it was night, extra lighting was used to create the illusion. There was a street lamp by the stage, which was turned on when it was nighttime, and there were torches lit at other parts in the play. This tool was very effective as at these points it was obvious that the night was being portrayed. There were many parts of the play when live sound from a band was used to help create atmosphere or just add to the interest of the play.
I think that 8 out of 10 is an accurate rating for the play. The play was brilliant but at times it lacked some flow. I think that the strongest aspect of the performance was the modernising of the humour in the play. This helped to add interest to the play for those who hadn’t read the book. It also gave many a way to relate the characters of the play to people in our everyday lives. It is hard to say what the weakest component in the play was, but it was probably visibility of the actors. For a groundling, it was often hard to see all the action on the stage.
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