Antony and Cleopatra is Shakespeare's last great tragedy.

Listen now at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007fpgq

Telling the story of one of history's most famous couples, Antony and Cleopatra contains some of the most beautiful poetry in the English Language.

Shakespeare's last great tragedy is an epic play of action set against a huge political and geographical backdrop, but at the centre of the play is a story about what happens when two people fall in love. In this play, love is a madness that leads to excess and imbalance. Antony and Cleopatra are middle-aged people who have loved before and often and they seize this late love as if it is their last chance. Their love possesses them and destroys all rational behaviour.

Antony and Cleopatra are a celebrity couple – they live their lives in public and they wield tremendous power. They are 'great' figures, and very conscious of their greatness – both are preoccupied with the figure they will cut in history. But they are also 'a soldier and his lass', driven by common human emotions. Shakespeare shows that great natures can produce great vices as well as great virtues – we see their vanity, cruelty and irresponsibility. Like glamorous stars, Antony and Cleopatra are both deeply attractive and open to harsh judgement.

Cast:
Cleopatra ….. Frances Barber
Mark Antony ….. David Harewood
Enobarbus ….. Roger Allam
Ocatavius Caesar ….. Colin Tierney
Lepidus / Clown ….. Ewan Hooper
Octavia ….. Amanda Root
Pompey / Sentry ….. Garry Cooper
Charmian ….. Claire Rushbrook
Iras ….. Helen Longworth
Eros / Varrius ….. Paul Hilton
Scarus / Alexas ….. Ben Onwukwe
Decretes / Thidias / Taurus ….. Martin Hyder
Philo / Canidius / Dolabella ….. Gerard McDermott
Maecenas / Demetrius ….. Sean Baker
Agrippa ….. Peter Marinker
Ventidius / Proculeius ….. Ben Crowe
Menas / Seleucus ….. Jonny Phillips
Ambassador / Soothsayer ….. Ian Masters
Mardian / Menecrates / Gallus ….. Peter Darney
Diomedes / Watchman ….. Carl Prekopp

Original music composed by Sylvia Hallett
Directed by Mary Peate.

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