Cush Jumbo's soliloquies are deep and thoughtful, every word heard as they should be. This is the third time I recall the Young Vic choosing an excellent Hamlet but giving him a problematic production. There was Peter Brook's curtailing Adrian Lester's Hamlet to just Hamlet's lines in the play. There was Ian Rickson's setting of Martin Sheen as Hamlet in a psychiatric ward with Gertrude as a fellow patient and Claudius as the consultant psychiatrist. We walked through an installation of the back of a hospital with a dispensary before seeing the play. The last really successful, all round Hamlet I remember at the Young Vic was Paul Rhys's 1930s European royalty in 1999.
Many Spanish plays of this period are concerned with duty, honour and loyalty and Peribanez is no exception. It is a celebration of peasant culture, showing the moral integrity of the dutiful peasant. Its tale of an overlord, the Commander (David Harewood) who threatens to take as his mistress the beautiful Casilda (Jackie Morrison) wife of a peasant farmer Peribanez (Michael Nardone) after the Commander is gored by a bull and carried to their home.
This black comedy exploits the most vicious company culture of corporate condoned bullying. The night I saw it there was no cheering or booing from the audience, just sharp intakes of shocked breath at some of the cruelest comments and laughter from others.