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2002 Productions:-

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

Critic's Comments

"Having seen a varied selection of plays at Moulsham Lodge during my term of adjudication, I was looking forward to leaving on a high note with the Bard! You have shown plenty of courage and enterprise with your programmes over the past two years, but when it comes down to it, Shakespeare really remains the big test for any company.

The result, to be honest, was rather patchy, is no great disparagement to yourselves. It was a "worthy" production, and I use the term advisedly. Worthy in this sense encapsulates both praise of the production and criticism of it. It seemed to say to us, "This is Shakespeare, it is culture, so don't think you are going to enjoy yourselves as you watch it!" The professional stage has long ago eschewed this approach, but more than enough of it  remains to blight the amateur stage still. It is such a pity the group did not grab the bull by the horns and come up with a similar twenty-first century approach as professionals. You have the talent and ability in your ranks to do so.

So as you will gather, my last appearance as adjudicator at Moulsham Lodge was something of a curate's egg. Let me make it clear, though, I enjoyed it immensely. Much of the criticism levelled above is given only because you are a talented group who have so much to give and deserve to be compared among the best in North-West Essex. Further afield than that, actually."
              John Folkard-North West Essex Theatre Guild


"This director's production of the Shakespeare classic of romance and legal trickery demonstrated her clear understanding of the text and the issues it raises.

And while there were some excellent performances, especially in the quite superb courtroom scene, the cast seemed more at sea with the mannerisms and language.

The set was simple and elegant and the lighting adequate. And although much of the incidental music was in character, it was, at times, intrusive and unpredictable in its entrances and exits.

Amateur groups thrive or wither on the extent to which they innovate and the group are to be congratulated for pushing out their personal and group boundaries"
              Jim Hutchon-Weekly News

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