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A splendid Merchant

13th June 2009 @ 2:02pm – by Audlem Webteam
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A well-known Audlem resident of many years standing said of last night's performance of the Merchant of Venice at Buerton House: "I know all of Shakespeare's plays; I've seen many at Stratford, but last night's cast was one of the best I've seen."

Praise indeed. Your correspondent was equally impressed by the Dean Taylor Production. Every member of the cast was engaging; their enunciation was clear – no small achievement when in the open air with song thrushes and blackbirds vying for attention – and every comic opportunity was taken with style and wit.

It wasn't just the lead roles that caught the eye. Amongst the glories of Shakespeare are the cameos. The unsuccessful suitors for Portia's hand, the Princes of Morocco and Arragon, were a joy last night, played by Tony Bond and Dean Taylor to perfection.

David Rex's Shylock was utterly convincing. It's a role that can trouble in such politically correct times yet last night we were torn between revulsion as he cruelly pursued the case for his pound of flesh with a growing sense of sympathy and injustice as he was finally broken financially and spiritually as his legal claim was demolished.

Portia, played by Brigid Lohrey, and Nerissa by Bernadette Nuttall, were mischievously engaging in the casket scenes and perfect legal eagles during the courtroom drama. Antonio, Bassanio and Gratiano – Peter Sundby, Tom Crook and Richard Calder – played their parts to the full. The musical accompaniment added enormously to the pleasure, particularly in the casket scenes.

Dean Taylor's company is packed with talent and he seems to love his visits to Buerton House. He said he would be back next year so, if you've missed the Merchant of Venice, start planning next summer's picnic whatever Dean's choice of play. We are very lucky to have theatre of this quality in the Audlem area.

Ralph Warburton hosts the production and was warmly thanked by both the production team and audience.

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