The Winter's Tale (1969): Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Shakespeare Theatre

PrThe Winter's Tale (

Live Performance

PRINCIPAL CAST: David Bailie (Florizel); Brenda Bruce (Paulina); Judi Dench (Hermione, Perdita); Barrie Ingham (Leontes); Richard Pasco (Polixenes); Derek Smith (Autolycus).

"[Trevor Nunn] has performed the near-miracle of illuminating and preserving Shakespeare's text with a thoroughly contemporary interpretation....This is Leontes, plunged into schizophrenia, healed by love, faith, and time. Barrie Ingham's playing has detailed intellectual apprehension, and while his voice lacks some orchestration, by the end we feel ourselves convinced by what has happened. Judi Dench's doubling as Perdita and Hermione achieves, especially as the latter, a presence which touches greatness....Trevor Nunn uses psychedelic lighting, cubist-looking glass and stops the action at times to symbolise the freezing up of Leontes' sickened mind."  ~ Gareth Lloyd Evans, The Guardian, 17 May 1969

"Trevor Nunn's solution to the problem at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon is to translate the fairy tale proceedings into modern terms - an exciting idea. The trouble is he has got as carried away with his visual gimmicks as Shakespeare did with his outrageous story. Dressed as Regency beaux in coloured thigh boots, the kings and courtiers act out their salvation against a stark white tiled background, reminiscent of an airport lounge. White cubes serve as furniture, a swivelling glass cage shows the progress of time and a flasing police light signifies danger." ~ "Taking liberties", Sunday Telegraph, 18 May 1969

"The same actress, unusually, plays both Perdita and her mother. And as Hermione, Miss Dench is proud and regal and most touching when Leontes's storm breaks over her...the production is full of novelties, some crazy - the figure of Time is a Negro in a cubicle of mirrors - and some forced."  ~ John Barber, Daily Telegraph, 17 May 1969

"Certainly I find several asterisks in the present production of The Winter's Tale (though Mr. Nunn is less to blame than many directors). The opening, the lighting tricks of the first part, the permanent set, the irritating costumes, the treatment of Time: none of these things really help." ~ J. C. Trewin, "No mauling here", Birmingham Post, 24 May 1967

"Mr. Nunn invites us to accept this interpretation of eternity by giving us the speech of Time, as chorus, at the beginning of the play as well as at the beginning of Act IV. At the beginning of the play the speech comes to us disembodied, amplified through the theatre (and most beautifully and compellingly spoken by Alton Kumalo, who later appears as Time in the flesh), while the eye is invited to look upon the foundations of humanism in a representation of Leonardo's drawing of a man, encased in a great transparent cube, upon which a stroboscopic light plays." ~ Sheila Bannock, "'A gallimaufry of gambols' in light and sound", Stratford-upon-Avon Herald, 23 May 1969

"The play opens not with the amiable conversation with which Shakespeare strikes a note of sociable content, but with the hollow and informatively incomprehensible voice of Time, and with a man spinning helplessly in a glass box under one of those flickering lights which are becoming a cliche" ~ J W Lambert, "The past endures", Sunday Times, 18 May 1969

"Its protagonist is not Leontes, maddened by jealousy and tamed by loss; not Hermione, he wronged wife hidden from him for 16 years, or Perdita, the daughter miraculously returned from the coasts of Bohemia. It is Time, giver and destroyer, friend and enemy, bringer of death and flowers; Time, whose dark face of furturity conceals the truth, only to bring it forth as its face turns to the light." ~ Ronald Bryden, "Time, that conspirator", Observer, 18 May 1969

Pe People involved in this production