The Winter's Tale (1985): Yorick Theatre Company, Latchmere Theatre, London
PrThe Winter's Tale (1985)
CAST includes: Bill Homewood (Leontes); Shope Shodeinde (Hermione); Leo Wringer (Autolycus). (Cast information from reviews and incomplete; no programme available)
This production ran from 13 April - 5 May 1985.
A production of The Winter's Tale by Yorick Theatre Company and directed by Michael Batz played at the Upstream Theatre Club in January in 1984 and was then staged at the New End in February 1984. This version was most likely based on that version.
"Economy mof means has yielded an inventive, small-scale production from the Yorick Theatre company...Hardly memorable, and lacking in that sense of wonder that can make this strange play so powerful and disturbing to watch, it is nevertheless an energetic attempt, often amusing, and never boring. Isabel Hernandez's design is a permanent backcloth of pendant sheets, successively suggesting both court hangings and the billowing waves in the storm. It also means the rural scenes are mercifully free of fake greenery which so often turns this play into a pantomime. The cast double as courtiers using white masks, effective if not original, and extraneous hangers-on and court gossips are played with much humour, and no sense of sytlistic dislocation, by two small glove puppets manipulated by Leo Wringer. Mr Wringer has the buoyant irreverance of the natural comic and thanks to his wickedly endearing West Indian Autolycus, Act 4 is the most interesting part of the show. He manages to make total sense of the language - ridiculous lines like 'The lark, which tirra lirra chants,' sounds perfectly natural in a Caribbean lilt as do the patches of more elaborate Jacobean rhetoric. Elsewhere discomfort with the language is one of the production's main weaknesses, though there is an exception in Bill Homewood's commanding Leontes. It is hard to know where the director's vision is meant to take us. Undefined modern dress, a prison guard in shades, a judge in a wig, and a black queen, all hint at something more than a purely personal tyranny - but the interpretation feels unexplored." ~ Rosalind Carne, Guardian, 16 April 1985