The Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Cardenio is described as "Shakespeare's 'Lost Play' Re-Imagined.” It is the first full-scale new production in the remodeled Swan Theatre. The production is a first adaptation/reinvention of Cardenio at the RSC. The production's 3 sources stem from Cervantes, Shelton and Theobald. To reconstruct the text of Cardenio, texts from Theobald’s Double Falsehood were incorporated with Don Quixote along with new text.
In performance, Cardenio presents dynamic characters, romance, action and intrigue. The relationship between Oliver Rix and Lucy Briggs-Owen as Cardenio and Luscinda gave breath to a sometimes comedic, sometimes tragic romance. Briggs-Owen depicts Lucy as a fidgety young lover, struggling with her inner most desires against the forms of her father and society.
Alex Hassell as Fernando tore at the heartstrings – A character one desires to love and hate in the same instance. He is bold, crass and rash in his decisions – A ruffian who takes what he wants without thought of the consequence. Yet, in all his faults he presents a giddy humor and a naivety that puts his villainess nature into question.
Perhaps the best production at the RSC this season, it is a shame this play calls tonight its closing.