Short Review: Bingo (Young Vic, 3rd March 2012)
This is a very strange play and at the end of it, I wasn’t clear at all about what it was about. Patrick Stewart plays Shakespeare in his retirement at New Place. There are scenes with his daughter Judith and also the servants. Maybe the play was about the banality of Shakespeare’s later life when he had retired in Stratford and had given up writing, but at times it was a little tedious. Even the historical context around enclosure was lost in a play that didn’t seem to have a structure of narrative arc. The best bit of the play was the scene between Shakespeare and Ben Jonson in the pub. Richard McCabe does drinking very well. His performance reminded me of his recent performance as Sir Toby Belch in Greg Doran’s Royal Shakespeare Company Twelfth Night.
The play followed seasons starting at the end of summer (the last sun) and then through Spring and Autumn finishing in Winter (the last snow). The final scene was in Shakespeare’s bedroom.
There were too many clunky scene changes and fussy stage business that actually distracted from the action. The play was well acted, but didn’t have enough in it to keep my attention.
Previews and Reviews
Bingo, Young Vic, London – FT.com
Bingo, Young Vic, London – Reviews – Theatre & Dance – The Independent
Bingo, Young Vic, review – Telegraph
Bingo – review | Stage | The Guardian
Bingo, Young Vic – review – Theatre & Dance – Arts – Evening Standard
In Other Blogs
Blog: Bingo « Gareth’s Culture and Travel Blog
Blog: Review – Bingo, Young Vic « West End Whingers
Young Vic Theatre Alex Proce Catherine Cusack Ellie Haddington Joanne Howarth John McEnery Kieron Jecchinis Matthew Marsh Michelle Tate Patrick Stewart Richard McCabe Tom Godwin Young Vic
Bingo is all about debunking the myth of Shakespeare the Great Man and showing him to have feet of clay, specifically that he was money-grabbing hypocrite and a bad husband and also a shill for a corrupt social order from which he was only too keen to benefit. The most striking visual image is that of the girl in the gibbet under which Shakespeare plays in the snow.