RSC, Venus and Adonis

Review in Issue 17-1 | Spring 2005

Shakespeare’s poem was presented by the Royal Shakespeare Company, directed by RSC’s Gregory Doran, in cahoots with Little Angel’s artistic director Steve Tiplady. Both should be as proud as Punch – seldom has a puppet performance received so much critical acclaim in the mainstream press. The majority of the RSC audience, which packed the theatre, had never seen a puppet piece for adults and were generally full of wonder and praise. The Venus and Adonis story, read live by the distinguished actor Michael Pennington, tells of the unrequited love of the goddess for the mortal Adonis, and her revenge. It was acted by a number of puppet figures, large and luscious, operated from behind, except for an introductory pair of small marionettes. The aesthetic was that of a Rubens painting – pastel colours, voluptuous forms, erotic illusions and actions. Robert Jones of the RSC was responsible, with Lyndie Wright as the puppet designer, joined in the making by Peter O’Rourke, John Roberts, Jan Zalud, Stefan Fichert, Simon Auton and assistant Jungmin Song. The talent embedded in the making of the figures and in their manipulation was of the highest order: all concerned were the cream of the cream! The manipulators (Sarah Wright, Rachel Leonard, Michael Bayliss, Lynn Robertson Bruce and Nele de Cracker), as sensitive as they were skilled, were directed by Steve Tiplady. Steve Russell’s guitar accompaniment was both subtle and appropriate. As I write the production is enjoying a six-week run in Stratford-on-Avon, and rumour suggests it will have a touring life long after that.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Nov 2004

This article in the magazine

Issue 17-1
p. 30