More an observer than a participant, his compassion– be it for the peasants who will suffer if the land is enclosed or the young vagrant woman who is whipped then hung – is limited by self-interest and apathy. The fate of the bears baited bankside by the Globe where his works were performed may prey upon his mind, but he seems to have lost the capacity for effective protest.
Angus Jackson’s production has attracted some high calibre actors – notably a dignified, brooding Patrick Stewart as the aging Bard, Catherine Cusack as the aggrieved daughter he has no time for, and Matthew Marsh’s wealthy landowner who easily persuades him to take no action either for or against enclosure.
But it makes for a very uninvolving and inert evening as Shakespeare heads towards death, the only light relief coming from the jealous verbal attack launched in a local tavern by the excellent Richard McCabe’s very drunk, very slovenly fellow playwright Ben Jonson.
Young Vic, The Cut, SE1 8LZ
0207 922 2922
Tube: Southwark / Waterloo
£10 – £29.50 | Until 31st March
Image via Catherine Ashmore