REVIEW: Pericles: Prince of Tyre at The Square Tower, Old Portsmouth

The cast of Pericles in rehearsal. From left: Charlotte Thompson  playing the part of Marina, Faye Williams playing Thaisa and Mike Jupp playing  Pericles.

Picture: Sarah Standing (170452-5021)
The cast of Pericles in rehearsal. From left: Charlotte Thompson playing the part of Marina, Faye Williams playing Thaisa and Mike Jupp playing Pericles. Picture: Sarah Standing (170452-5021)
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It is accepted that Shakespeare only wrote 50 per cent of Pericles.

And it shows.

It’s a very un-Shakespearean piece, presented here by the Southsea Shakespeare Actors in the atmospheric setting of the Square Tower. Devices largely shunned by the Bard in his other works are here front-and-centre - dumb-show; off-stage action described by a narrator – and directors Nick Downes and Vincent Adams are creative with the unpromising text, but I suspect it would take actors of considerable experience to bring it convincingly to life.

Mike Jupp (Pericles) is too measured and needs to take a few more risks with his delivery of the text. Rob Bartlett and Sarah Parnell make the most of the baddies – to be expected with their joint experience! Charlotte Thompson makes a fine Marina and David Pearson as Lysimachus, of the younger cast members, has the greatest measure of the verse. As Gower, the chorus, Andy Thomas excels.

The play comes alive, though, in the hands of the supporting cast.

When Marina is kidnapped by pirates and sent to work in a brothel, Lauren Farnhill as the Bawd and Lee Ruttle as her servant, Boult, just about steal the play from under the rest of the cast’s collective nose.

Until Saturday.