Pericles (1983): Theatre Royal, Stratford East
PRINCIPAL CAST: Felicity Dean (Marina); Martin Duncan (Gower); Gerard Murphy (Pericles); Brian Protheroe (The King).
This production ran from 31 October - 26 November 1983.
"Whatever your response to the show, it is clearly the outcome of the director-designer's dream, rather than a calculated attempt to patch up a recondite piece of merchandize for a popular audience....Ultz, instead of setting out to raise the whole piece into the seraphic gravity of the final reunion scenes, switches gleefully between melodramatic burlesque, Pythonesque intrigue, and uproarious assault on the weaker lines. The most insistent style is a blend of music hall and Christmas pantomime, which sits very happily on Joan Littlewood's old stage....Not surprisingly, the real hero of the evening is the set; composed largely of hinged boxes, in which we find the incestuous Antioch villainously snogging, Marina (Felicity Dean) in prostituted captivity, and her mother expiring in the ocean storm. The powerful element of lo-and-behold that accompanies each opening of the box doors is set against a surrounding atmosphere of enchantment on the deep vacant stage, with bird mobiles and wall hangings, which can change, thanks to Mick Hughes's floor-level lighting, to plausible garden or street scenes." ~ Irving Wardle, "A blend of Bards", The Times, 1 April 1983
"For Ultz and his colleagues, Pericles is obviously the season's first panto. The dumb shows are presented a la Japanois in front of a hanging white tapestry. After the incest-riddled prologue in Antioch, Ultz's colour brochure takes us to a green Pentapolis (fishermen hauling out an endless emerald net); a burnished golden Tarsus; a purple Mytilene with a huge pig stuck in the brothel; and the azure twilight zone of Diana's temple on Ephesus....The obvious camp of Harold Innocent as the bawd in black suspenders in the Prospect version of 10 years ago is quite obliterated by Vas Blackwood's androgynous madame" ~ Michael Coveney, "Pericles/E15", Financial Times, 1 April 1983