A ‘Me, Too’ Shakespeare 4 Centuries Ahead of Our Time

Might I recommend Measure for Measure In which two abused women are allowed to speak of grave injustices to them by men and finally get justice?

One of the Great One’s best with many of the familiar Shakespeare patterns:
-a wise ruler suddenly giving up power at the beginning of the play as a test
-later returning in disguise to observe the effects of his decision
-an untested figure proving to be untrustworthy and of shaky moral character
-abuse and corruption in and via power
-the overstepping of ego with personal agenda
-temptation revealing basest motives and inner nature
-‘gulled’ characters
-comeuppances, punishments and rewards
-the usual questions: how far can man fall? How bad can things get?
How can order become disorder and chaos?
-various characters will get their just deserts
-many truths will out.

A truly unique Shakespeare play with elements of King Lear, Titus Andronicus, The Tempest, and some of the comedies. Acting-wise, an excellent duke (this BBC production features Kenneth Colley) in two distinct, equally credible roles, Kate Nelligan as Isabella, a strong, articulate Portia-like character, Tim Pigott-Smith as a very nasty Angelo–the duke’s chosen replacement-gone-wrong, and smarmy John McEnery as Lucio (previously of Zefferelli’s Romeo and Juliet–Mercutio) who reaps punishment for his two-faced chorus-comments and shameless hypocrisy.

Desmond Davis serves up a visually interesting, realistic staging in this 1978 classic from the famed Shakespeare DVD boxset series done of all the Bard’s plays. There are themes and conflicts galore in this thoroughly entertaining play: control vs. temptation, surfaces/illusion vs. deception/reality, justice vs. injustice, human frailties and character flaws, lust vs. love, reason and truth vs. lies and betrayals, and trickery and masks.
Even-handed justice, though, (as in the play’s title) is amply doled out in the end, though some may feel Shakespeare gave Angelo more of a break than any other of his villains.

A solid 9/10 easily on all counts.

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