Review Roundup: Cattrall in ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA
Sex and the City's Kim Cattrall, has returned to the stage to star in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra at Liverpool Playhouse. The production, which is directed by Janet Suzman, includes Jeffery Kissoon as Antony along with RSC's Ian Hogg and Martin Hutson.
Additional cast memebers include: Ross Armstrong">Ross Armstrong, Alex Blake, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Gracy Goldman, Martin Herdman, Oliver Hoare, Muzz Khan, Aicha Kossoko">Aicha Kossoko, Simon Manyonda, Offue Okegbe, Robert Orme, Bhasker Patel">Bhasker Patel, Ken Shorter">Ken Shorter and Mark Sutherland.
Michael Hunt, Whatsonstage.com: Cattrall, of course, gives the production a big billing due to her star status and is very captivating over the three hours and ten minutes running time. In the programme notes, Cattrall said she was inspired by Suzman to become an actress. In return, she gives the director an encouraging performance that is likely to develop with real appeal. Cattrall's Cleopatra - the Queen of Egypt who Mark Antony (Kissoon) lusts after - is sexy, teasing, commanding and funny. She is supported by her handmaidens Charmian (Aïcha Kossoko) and Iras (Gracy Goldman), or her 'women' as she calls them, who - at a click of her fingers - answer her every beck and call in her palace in Alexandria, even leading up to her suicide.
Patrick Marmion, Daily Mail: Admittedly, Cattrall's English accent and grasp of the poetry did improve in the second half, but for the first 80 minutes of the preview I saw, she really wasn't at the races. What's more, for the whole of the first half she has just one costume - intolerable for Samantha Jones, unthinkable for Cleopatra. Cattrall fails to flaunt her character's gloriously manipulative caprice.
Clare Brennan, The Observer: It is at the point of death that Kissoon's Antony is most ridiculous and most sublime. By this point, Cattrall's Cleopatra has been so finely gauged, so quick to switch between histrionics, coquetry and calculation (when Antony is absent she settles spectacles on her nose, a chair at her desk and busies herself signing papers of state) that we still cannot tell whether she loves him or not. The result is that Antony's extreme grief at the fake news of her supposed suicide, instead of being a dramatically ironic expression of tragic and ennobling love is so ridiculously bathetic (especially when contrasted with his raw cry of pain on hearing of the death of his friend Enobarbus) that the press-night audience laughed.
Michael Billington, The Guardian: The first blessing is that Cattrall avoids romantic cliche. In place of some Hollywood voluptuary, she gives us a Cleopatra who is a working queen and ruler: at one point we even see her in specs sitting at a desk signing state papers. But Cattrall also wittily highlights Cleopatra's equivocal relationship with Antony, one which blends sexual fascination with political exasperation. However much she may enjoy their gaudy nights, she is less enamoured of him by day: one of Cattrall's best moments is her look of disgusted horror when the defeated Antony, burying himself in her lap, jeopardises her possible alliance with Caesar by ordering his messenger to be whipped. Cattrall's Cleopatra loves Antony most in his absence; and she clinches the point beautifully when, after his death, she rhapsodises a lover who, in a sense, existed only in her dreams.
Charles Spencer, The Daily Telegraph: She often misses the pulse of the verse, and she has a tendency to shout stridently. But in her elegant gowns and with her hair dyed black she is a splendidly alluring queen, even when she puts on reading glasses in a production that stylishly combines ancient and modern. And if she is not yet the mistress of Cleopatra's infinite variety, she grows in stature throughout the performance and in the great last act becomes extraordinarily moving.