Review by: Paul Towers, 27 April 2017
Gratiano by Ross Ericson
Grist To The Mill production performed by Ross Ericson, directed by Michelle Yim
Upstairs @ The Western, 27 April 2017
“a bravado monologue.”
For someone who just cannot get their head round Shakespeare’s iambic pentameters this production gives a nicely accessible précis of The Merchant of Venice, albeit re-imagined in Mussolini’s Italy.
In the original Gratiano is a very minor character, a friend of Bassanio, the object of Antonio’s unrequited love. Here he has been arrested for his erstwhile friend’s murder and, with typical verbal incontinence, blurts out to the Police the full story of Shylock, Bassanio, Antonio and their ultimate day in court.
In his cups, Gratiano bemoans his fate in faux Shakespearean verse propped up in a bar. Alternating with this despair we hear the whole sorry tale in modern vernacular as he is interrogated by the Police. This makes the story much more understandable.
Once again Ross Ericson has written and performs a bravado monologue.
An unobtrusive soundtrack of music and effects accurately places us in war-torn Italy and easily signals scene changes along with creative lighting.
This production tours in tandem with The Unknown Soldier, seen at Upstairs at The Western last night. Full details are available at www.gristtheatre.co.uk