Sophie Okonedo and Ralph Fiennes star in Simon Godwin’s production of Antony and Cleopatra at the National Theatre. Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews… 

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The Guardian: **** “Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo are at the top of their game as the self-deluded lovers, and director Simon Godwin proves yet again that he combines a contemporary eye with a fastidious ear for Shakespeare’s language.”

The Independent: **** “Simon Godwin’s astute and moving modern-dress production of Antony & Cleopatra succeeds in conveying the cultural differences between Rome and Egypt without ever resorting to the condescension of kitsch. This is a penetrating and considered account of a complex, twisty play.”

Time Out: **** ” a thoroughly enjoyable take on Shakespeare’s great historical tragedy.”

WhatsOnStage: ***** “The great merit of Simon Godwin’s fast-moving, modern dress and hugely intelligent production in the vast space of the Olivier, is its extreme lucidity. A lot goes on, but we always understand its meaning and its emotional impact.”

The Telegraph: **** “Didn’t they have back-masseurs in Ancient Egypt? Watching Ralph Fiennes’ intense, imposing but slightly too stiff-mannered performance as Antony in Simon Godwin’s opulent, lucid, initially slow-paced, finally stirring revival of Shakespeare’s immortal drama of middle-aged love and political strife, I kept wishing an attendant – or maybe Sophie Okonedo’s magnificently springy and contrastingly lithe ‘serpent of old Nile’ – could give the old boy a shoulder-rub.”

Culture Whisper: **** “Director Simon Goodwin embraces the sensuous beauty of Shakespeare’s Roman romance with an elegant contemporary aesthetic and seriously impressive staging. While Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo bring immense talent, warmth and wit to the besotted General and his queen.”

Variety: “Godwin never unlocks a language to make something impactful of the play’s plague of suicides. Instead, his staging unravels in a procession of burst bloodbags and corpses, each death a little less impressive than the last, that never keys into the senseless poetry of it all or the headlessness of self-destruction.”

West End Whingers: “But it was Fisayo Akinade‘s Eros who stole attention in every scene he’s in. He has to deliver bad news to Cleopatra and it’s not so much a don’t shoot the messenger moment as don’t throw him in the paddling pool and give him a darn good soaking. Which, of course, they do. A nicely choreographed bath though. His final scene is more moving than anything produced by the leads.”

There Ought to be Clowns: “Or Cleopatra and Antony as it turns out. Ralph Fiennes is plenty good in Simon Godwin’s modern-dress production of Antony and Cleopatra for the National Theatre, but Sophie Okonedo is sit-up, shut-up, stand-up amazing”

British Theatre Guide: “Ralph Fiennes is wonderful, Sophie Okonedo even better and both could be vying for awards at the year end. Simon Godwin also deserves plaudits for the kind of updated National Theatre production of Shakespeare that used be Sir Nicholas Hytner’s calling card, having taken infinite care to ensure coherence throughout, making this a highly accessible, visually gorgeous and thoroughly enjoyable evening.”

Evening Standard: **** “This is one of Shakespeare’s most sprawling plays, as messy as it’s grand. But here it feels like both an opulent slice of Roman history and an intimate tragedy.”

The Daily Mail: **** “Clear diction, sunset lighting, a turquoise swimming pool and thrilling use of the stage’s revolve to give us the steep metallic hulk of a nuclear submarine: Simon Godwin’s production of Antony And Cleopatra has some marvellous touches.”

Blouin Art Info: ***** “Okonedo completely nails Cleopatra’s imperious, imperial, style: proud beyond belief, poised, pouting, partial to sweeping aristocratic pronouncements.”

British Theatre.com: **** “The moments where Fiennes and Okonedo are on stage together are the most memorable in the production.”

Broadway World: *** “For all its glossy exterior and star casting, this lengthy production doesn’t quite live up to its lofty expectations. Whilst it is an improvement on a lot of the recent offerings from the Olivier auditorium, and will undoubtedly draw in the crowds, it could have been so much more.”

Antony and Cleopatra continues to play at the National Theatre. For more information visit: https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/antony-and-cleopatra