Funny article – ‘She moves like a Dalek’: The Shakespeareans who failed to impress

This is about a month old but it doesn’t matter – it will always be funny.

Matthew Rhys and Sian Brooke as Romeo and Juliet: “[Romeo] gives her a short kiss (admittedly on the lips) and scales down from the balcony with the air of one headed for the 07.36 to Charing Cross.” (Michael Portillo)

Vivien Leigh in Titus Andronicus: “She receives the news that she is about to be ravished on her husband’s corpse with little more than the mild annoyance of one who would have preferred foam rubber.” (Kenneth Tynan)

George Bartenieff as Cymbeline: “Bartenieff makes one of the most forgettable titular roles in Shakespeare indelible by mauling every line.” (Frank Rich)

Alan Rickman and Helen Mirren as Antony and Cleopatra: “They rose to erotic ardour last night with little more enthusiasm than a pair of glumly non-mating pandas at London Zoo, coaxed to do their duty.” (Nicholas de Jongh)

Peter O’Toole as Macbeth: “Chances are he likes the play, but O’Toole’s performance suggests that he is taking some kind of personal revenge on it.” (Robert Cushman)

Simone Signoret as Lady Macbeth: “A concial bell-tented matron who moves on wheels like a draped Dalek surmounted by a beautiful Medusa head.” (Alan Brien)

Peter O’Toole as Macbeth: “He delivers every line with a monotonous tenor bark as if addressing an audience of deaf Eskimos.” (Michael Billington)

Anthony Hopkins as Macbeth: “He gives the impression he is a Rotarian pork-butcher about to tell the stalls a dirty story.” (Felix Barker)

Richard Briers as Hamlet: “Richard Briers last night played Hamlet like a demented typewriter.” (WA Darlington)

Glenda Jackson as Cleopatra: “The danger of her succumbing to absolute passion was no closer than Mrs Thatcher’s likelihood of weeping at Cabinet meetings.” (Milton Shulman)

Vivien Leigh as Cleopatra: “She picks at the part with the daintiness of a debutante called up on dismember a stag.” (Kenneth Tynan)

Stephen Murray as Lear: “He maintains a gravelly, rasping note hammering at you until you rush out thankfully to listen to the traffic.” (John Barber)


There are some very inventive descriptions there, and the sad thing is, many of these people are really great actors and actresses.  Two of them (Alan Rickman and Matthew Rhys) are actually favourites of mine.


~ by vanityandpride on March 5, 2009.

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