Antony and Cleopatra

Antony and Cleopatra (1981)

For my play review, I was able to engage in one of BBC TV’s most intriguing productions: the 1981 film adaptation of Antony and Cleopatra starring Colin Blakely and Jane Lapotaire as the leading roles.  While I did enjoy the play and liked the acting styles of both Blakely and Lapotaire, I must admit I find myself a bit disappointed with the production and enjoyed reading Shakespeare’s work more.  For those who know the story of Antony and Cleopatra, Antony is depicted as a strong well-respected Roman soldier who forms a lustful relationship with the beautiful, sensual, African Queen Cleopatra.  The first difference between the play and production is that in the production, Cleopatra is played by an entirely white, English woman.  For an actress playing an African Queen I did not envision Jane Lapotaire as the main lead.

Not only did this through the play off, but in the BBC production, Cleopatra though witty and charismatic, doesn’t seem to appropriately portray a strong and political leader.  Though Cleopatra is idealized for her beauty and is referred to as a sexual character, Shakespeare seems to suggest that Cleopatra is more of a complex character than we think for she is also a very respectful leader.  Throughout the production I feel that Cleopatra wasn’t as much of an intense character.  Though I did like Lapotaire’s charming portrayal of Cleopatra, I feel like her portrayal was too dramatic and wasn’t as credited for what she has accomplished as Cleopatra.  Again, not what I was expecting to see when the historical figure of Cleopatra came to mind.

Though there were some differences I did not appreciate, I did like Antony’s character and though he was portrayed in a respectable way.   Overall though I found the production entertaining, I thought the production didn’t accurately portray Shakespeare’s work. (K. Miro, October, 2013)

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