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The Winter’s Tale, RSC, Courtyard Theatre, Stratford

GREG Hicks turns in a towering performance as Leontes, the king of Sicilia bitten by jealousy who destroys all before him in this rarely performed play.

GREG Hicks turns in a towering performance as Leontes, the king of Sicilia bitten by jealousy who destroys all before him in this rarely performed play.

Standing on stage just feet away, he embarks on a riveting descent into hell in a first half that simply flashes by, journeying from life and soul of the party to a wraith like figure racked by suspicion before being shown to be a tyrannical fool.

But it’s not all doom and gloom, for this a play is about hope and redemption, about second chances and as it races towards its climax, as Hicks’s character comes face to face with the long lost daughter he banished, and then the wife he thought was dead, my goodness it was hard to fight back the tears at the poignancy of the reunion.

Directed by David Farr there is much joy in this production. Samantha Young’s Perdita, that long lost daughter, radiates such a sense of well being that a quick glance around the audience found everyone smiling as much as myself whenever she was on stage.

It’s an emotional rollercoaster that’s beautifully played and that will leave you checking the schedule to find out when it’s next on – and as luck would have it, the run doesn’t end until October 3.

 

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