Loves of Shakespeare's Women, Norwich

“Age cannot wither her” said the programme note, introducing Susannah York's one-woman show at Norwich Playhouse. Shakespeare's words refer, of course, to Cleopatra – but they could just as well be about the apparently ageless Ms York.

“Age cannot wither her” said the programme note, introducing Susannah York's one-woman show at Norwich Playhouse. Shakespeare's words refer, of course, to Cleopatra – but they could just as well be about the apparently ageless Ms York.

In The Loves of Shakespeare's Women, a show devised and performed by the actress, she brings to life a whole range of Shakespeare's women characters from tragic heroines like Juliet and Cleopatra to the sparkling wit of Beatrice and the earthy comedy of the Mistresses Page and Ford in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

York was most effective in the strongly regal roles of Cleopatra and Lady Macbeth.

She also gave a very moving account of Constance's lamentation over her dead son, Arthur, in King John. Beautifully spoken lines and mobility of face and gesture on stage brought these characters to life.

But there was a lack of comic lightness when it came to Beatrice and Viola, and she was perhaps too knowing and sophisticated for Juliet.

So, too, the show needed more variety of content and some more Elizabethan music would have added punch.

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On another level, this show presented Susannah York's career in film, television and stage.

The audience gained a privileged insight, spiced with anecdote, into the career of a remarkable actress.

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