Even having seen Jasper Britton excel as an extremely affecting Henry IV, last year, I still find myself astonished at the charisma, wit, humour, intelligence, and sheer eye-rolling panache he brings – in huge, revelatory chunks – to Barabas, The Jew of Malta – even though I have just witnessed his brilliant, arousing portrayal for the third time (and am now desperately scambling up a good reason for attempting to ‘go fourth’, before the production closes this coming Tuesday (sob)).
In fact, I am struggling to think of an actor who has entertained me quite so much; and so consistently. [Although the over-scented, TOWIE-castoff couple next to me, who fidgeted and fiddled with their phones throughout the first half… – and then, thankfully, did not return for the second (phew) – probably would not concur. At last, I could relax completely… – and breathe again. It is a mark of the supremacy of the show that they irritated me less than a brace of knackered gnats.]
There’s nothing more to say, really – apart from the fact that (although I have yet to see Volpone – sadly, my visit has had to be postponed until its penultimate performance, in a week’s time) this is almost certainly the best thing the RSC has put on, this season: convincing me, yet again, that the Swan Theatre is where it’s really at…. It will be so very good to see it emerge from its cocoon, next spring…
Farewell my joy, and by my fingers take
A kiss from him that sends it from his soul.
Now Phoebus ope the eye-lids of the day,
And for the raven wake the morning lark,
That I may hover with her in the air,
Singing o’er these, as she does o’er her young.