Bingo – Scenes of Money and Death (2012)
I was delighted when I managed to purchase a ticket to Bingo at the Young Vic Theatre in London.
The play was directed by Angus Jackson( Theatre; Funny Guy,The 24 Hour Play and film: Emilia’s Kitchen) and it is based on a play written in 1973 by the English Marxist playwright Edward Bond.’Bingo-Scenes of Money and Death’ is a story about aging William Shakespeare,played by the brilliant actor Sir Patrick Stewart ( The X-Men Trilogy,LA Story,Lady Jane) .
Shakespeare moves to Stratford in search of peace,however,he finds himself hemmed in by local politics and conflicts.He is invited to become a town Councillor to take a sides in a dispute about land enclousers. Shakespeare signs up with a local landowner,William Combe, played by charismatic Matthew Marsh( The Iron Lady,Land of the Blind)to buy himself peace and quiet.His main concern is to protect his profits.The writer also struggles with his moaning wife and a daughter Judith,played by Catherine Cusack( Finding Neverland)who bothers him with her trivial complaints.Also Shakespeare’s attempt to shield a female vagabond ends with her being hanged.
Bond was 40 when he wrote the play and perhaps that’s why the attacks he seats up upon his Shakespeare feel like that of a son vigorously trying to land a telling blow on his father.It almost works, because in Sir Patrick Stewart’s performance you can so easily believed in the life portrayed.
Shakespeare’s burn-out is both visible and tragic-Bonds wants to suggest that moral burn-out was a relevant factor.In the play’s funniest scene he is berated by a drunken and jealous Ron Johnson,played by Richard McCabe( Wallander,Spooks,The Duchess) for his supposed serenity.Stewart just sits and stares at him through narrowed eyes,saying nothing and carrying on drinking.It is a very good set up,not nice but plausible.
As Michael Billington said ‘It’s an evening that confirms Bond’s 1973 play has achieved the status of a modern classic’. In my opinion Bingo production was excellent, beautifully directed with a great scenery designed by Visual Scene and TMS Theatrical.
Bingo runs ’till 31st of March 2012 at the Young Vic Theatre
Written by Maggie Gogler