The Two Gentlemen of Verona (2004): Melmoth, Greenwich Playhouse, London
PrThe Two Gentlemen of Verona (2004)
This production ran from 20 April - 16 May 2004, according to Theatre Record.
"To the dying strains of an orchestral regurgitation of the Bee Gees' hit Tragedy, the two Veronese gentlemen begin canoodling under a tree. As Valentine finishes reciting Christopher Marlowe's amourous lyric 'Come live with me and be my love' to his boyfriend Proteus, the latter's father steams in and begins shouting abuse while Valentine is taken to one side and duffed up by his henchmen. Director Stuart Draper's non-authorial prologue certainly gets the Bard's early comedy off to a bold start. What follows in this reimagining of the play as a gay love story is hardly less unconventional, although after the opening scene the performers pretty much stick to the Shakespeare-approved script - a discipline that obliges them to read awkward lines as if they meant the opposite of what they appear to mean. Hence, when Luke Leeves' Proteus says: 'Thou, Julia, thou has metamorphos'd me', he pronounces the words with a mixture of boredom and irritation, as if what he really intended to say was 'Girl, you get on my nerves big time.' It's an approach that makes total nonsense of the plot, of course, but the results are pretty irresistible" ~ Robert Shore, Time Out, 5 May 2004, in Theatre Record 2004, Issue 9
"Cross-dressing, all-male acting companies and a playwright whose 'mistress' was a dark lady of uncertain gender make Shakespeare's plays ripe for gay interpretation. Director Stuart Draper goes further to suggest one of the reasons Shakespeare's early comedy Two Gentlemen of Verona is so seldom performed is because it no longer works if you play it straight....Azeem Nathoo and Luke Leeves are suitably decorative, if lacking depth as the plays true lovers Sir Valentine and Sir Proteus respectively." ~ Barbara Lewis, What's On, 12 May 2004, in Theatre Record 2004, Issue 9