Cymbeline Friday Film Focus: a not-review

Another early summer Friday, another new release. Out in the world, it’s Tom Cruise and his Mummy reboot. For us, a not-review of Cymbeline.

[NOTE: when I do the reviews revue–see what I did there?–I view the videos all in the same month if possible (Macbeth with its slew made it a little difficult). I don’t technically review anything I haven’t seen recently..thus, what follows is a “not-review”]

In late October of last year, my wife Lisa and I took in one of those cinema broadcasts, where they stream a video of a live performance (usually done live for British cinemas, and recorded then rebroadcast for the rest of the world) to a local movie house. Well, as luck would have it, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Cymbeline was the production in question, and since I’d never seen the play before (and knew it was coming down the pike for this project), we plunked down our hard-earned cash and checked it out.

I really should have written about it right then and there, because my memory is sketchy at best.

But as best as I can recall, the major directorial concepts presented were:

  • a modern dress setting (though more post-apocalyptic than present-day),
  • a gender-switched Cymbeline–so that it was queen Cymbeline, and a new evil husband–and
    • a gender-switched Guideria in the Welsh woods (now a daughter, not a son), and
  • an interesting opening multimedia bit with two toddlers, one girl, one boy, playing in what looked to be a home movie. It was the two boys (in the play as written) taken by Belarius, as we would find out.

It was also interesting because they didn’t call Imogen “Imogen,” but “Innogen.” It seemed, by the preliminary behind-the-scenes material, to be kind of a big deal. Though at the time, it didn’t really make a difference to me (but it does now).

I remember liking the production. Quite a bit, actually. I liked the modern setting, the use of music and dance, the comedy of Cloten and the villainy of Iachimo, and I actually liked the “oh, come on” pile-up of revelations at the end. But details are fuzzy.

If my remembrance is right, this is actually the version you want to check out…you know, IF it was available–which it isn’t, at least not yet.

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