The Merchant of Venice (1980): Leeds Playhouse (now West Yorkshire Playhouse)
PrThe Merchant of Venice (1980)
PRINCIPAL CAST: Brian Deacon (Bassanio); Mark Dowse (Antonio); Gabrielle Drake (Portia); David Lyon (Shylock).
The first performance of this production took place on 6 November 1980.
"The directors have presented a very straightforward and coherent version of the play, there is a very simple but effective set designed by Sheila Godbolt, but much of the acting and verse speaking leaves much to be desired. Gabrielle Drake gives a fine performance as Portia and there are good performances from Mark Dowse as Antonio, Brian Deacon as Bassanio and by David Lyon as Shylock, although, in the case of the latter, I was troubled by his non-Jewish appearance despite the constant references to it in the text. I found Leo Wringer's performance as Morocco quite impressive but his grimacing, cringing, self-indulgent performance as Launcelot Gobbo a travesty, completely lacking in the natural dignity that a negro servant would have, and in complete contrast to the quiet but effective performance of Robert Phillips as Old Gobbo, his father." ~ J. R. L. Reyner, "Leeds: The Merchant of Venice", The Stage and Television Today, 11 December 1980