Play Review: Bingo at the Young Vic

23 Mar

Star power, revival, political, Shakespeare. Bingo has everything going for it and completely takes advantage of it. You won’t feel shortchanged after seeing this show, I can assure you of that.

Bingo: Scenes of Money and Death is a play written in 1973 and portrays an ageing, Shakespeare in his home in Warwickshire. Without giving much away, it shows Shakespeare engaging in land deals (sort of) and dealing with family trials and tribulations.

It’s testing. You have to keep up with Bond’s dense, heavy writing but it’s heavily intriguing and it pays off to keep up with it. It’s practical on the surface but deep down it’s fraught with ideas running around Bond’s head, which is a good thing, because clearly Bond had a lot to say and knew how to say it. Shakespeare is portrayed so well and will provoke many thoughts. You’ve never, ever seen Shakespeare in this light and it’s a character that will leave an impression on you.

Patrick Stewart is a fine actor and at his finest here. What’s so impressive about his performance is that he’s silent for most of the time and is tucked away at stage corners yet he’s presence is undeniable. Stewart is a master and it shows; he understands the text and he’s the driving force to this show.

It’s beautifully designed with the stage changing settings great and the snow is done wonderfully. It’s smooth but it’s perhaps rather dire if you don’t keep up with it.

I found it to be so ironic that one of the finest wordsmiths was portrayed as silent. It’s such an interesting character in this play that we’re apparently familiar with but you begin to doubt everything that you’ve known about William Shakespeare. An intriguing, stirring drama, Bingo will capture your mind completely.

Rating: 4/5

7 Responses to “Play Review: Bingo at the Young Vic”

  1. lanceschaubert March 23, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    Man I miss the theater. Thanks for giving me the itch again.

    • aculturedlad March 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

      Thanks for commenting!

      Ah, the theatre is so fantastic. If you live in London and ever need to find deals to go to the theatre, just contact me and I can let you know! There are so many great offers out there!

  2. View of the Arts March 23, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

    I enjoyed reading your review! waiting for more reviews )

  3. Jo March 24, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    I enjoyed reading your review, and I think you make an interesting point that “one of the finest wordsmiths …[being] portrayed as silent” perhaps has an interesting irony.

    I say, perhaps interesting, because I am not completely convinced that it was. More interesting I feel would have been richer characterizations all round. Silence, sure can say something about a persons frame of mind, but that “white space” is best broken up with speech that reveals its meaning. There has got to be a bit of subtext going on right? I saw none of this from Sir Patrick’s Shakespeare, only clunky Learism and a little Ophelia in the end 🙂

    Of course as with anything, this play is as much about its own historical context as its subject, and this for me, was the key factor. What was once I am sure a relevant and progressive (but never particularly gripping) script, is now neither. Some plays do not stand the test of time, this was one, and being on a stage, in a London theatre of all places taking about Shakespeare of all things. I found it all a bit embarrassing.

    • aculturedlad March 29, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

      Thank you very much for commenting!

      I thought that Patrick Stewart approached the silence very nicely. When he was tucked away at the sides of the stage there was something about the way he carreid himself that gave him so much prescence. It also added far more weight to when he did say something.

      Yes, I completely agree that it is not a gripping script. It can get rather dire but if you really pay close attention to it, it’s so interesting. I think I also agree that perhaps if we had seen this many years ago we would have found ti far more interesting.

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