(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 7/11.)
Natalie Abrahami's production does exactly what it says on the tin. Billed as "Pericles reimagined for everyone aged six and over", what we get is a vivid theatrical experience that combines pirates, panto and the best bits of this relatively unfamiliar late romance.
In one respect, the production is extremely purist. It omits the first two acts, written by one of Shakespeare's hack collaborators, and puts much of the focus on Pericles's daughter, Marina. We first see her life being threatened by her guardian, Dionyza, flash back in time to witness her birth at sea, and then follow her later adventures around the Med before the eventual reunion with her father. Abrahami neatly sidesteps the problem of the Mytilene brothel scenes by turning them into a fairground freakshow in which Marina is expected to perform as a singing mermaid. But the big set pieces, especially the restoration to life of Marina's coffined mum, are very well staged, and the young audience is encouraged to listen as well as look by waving a paper boat every time the word "sea" is mentioned.