Brilliantly written review of Shakespeare’s play Timon of Athens.

Photo of the first page of Timon of Athens fro...
Photo of the first page of Timon of Athens from a facsimile edition of the First Folio of Shakespeare’s plays, published in 1623 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That's How The Light Gets In

You don’t get many chances to see Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens performed on stage. Regarded as difficult, problematic, and anyway co-written with Thomas Middleton, the play only found its way into the First Folio in 1623 by chance and is rarely performed, so we made a visit to the current National Theatre production the centrepiece of a trip to London this weekend.

This production comes trailed in garlands – for Nicholas Hytner’s direction – which gives the play a vividly contemporary setting in today’s divided London, brilliantly realised in Tim Hatley’s design – and especially Simon Russell Beale’s performance in the title role.

Hytner transfers the setting from ancient Greece to a present day capital city of wealthy financiers, a fawning cultural elite and streets where the poor and dispossessed are angry and turbulent. As the play begins, we glimpse an Occupy-style tent-city before a revolving stage whisks us to the…

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