The Merchant of Venice (1962): Old Vic Theatre Company
PrThe Merchant of Venice (1962)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Sheila Allen (Portia); Esmond Knight (Antonio); James Maxwell (Bassanio); Lee Montague (Shylock).
The first performance of this production took place on 17 October 1962.
"It was not to be supposed that the immensely high standards of the Peer Gynt with which Mr. Michael Elliott opened his first season as Director in the Waterloo-road would be quite equalled with his second production. But if this is to be the workaday level we may expect from his new company, then it is a New Vic indeed....Mr. Lee Montague (if I am not mistaken is the first Jewish Shylock for many years) is a deeply human figure, driven not by mysterious Eastern hates but by his own fully intelligible weaknesses...Mr. Errol John, soon to play Othello with this company, stakes out his claim with the Prince of Morocco" ~ Bernard Levin, "Does this Shylock really want his pound of flesh?", Daily Mail, 18 October 1962
"But this Merchant is mostly very drably spoken - without relish. With the honourable exception of Esmond Knight in the name part, they refer to the Duke of Venice as 'the jook.'" ~ Philip Hope-Wallace, The Guardian, 18 October 1962
"Venice and Belmont become gloomy spots where the sun never penetrated. Indeed but for Portia's habit of dressing in virginal white and standing in any light there happened to be going, Belmont would hardly seemed to have any system of illumination at all." ~ W. A. Darlington, "Why Antonio Was So Sad: Merchant Set in Deep Gloom", Daily Telegraph, 18 October 1962
"Morocco (Mr. Errol John) and Arragon (Mr. David William) were sympathetic figures: excellent losers both, to whom we wished a very happy old-bacherlorhood." ~ "Shakespeare in Newspaper Form", Times, 18 October 1962