'Cymbeline' ; my crushes.

I was fortunate enough to recently attend Press Night for the marvellous RSC's production of Cymbeline. I was actually made aware of this play only recently, and cannot believe it passed me by for so many years of studying English Lit?! I love the story and knew it would be a spectacular production. 

Little plot summary from the website... 

'Queen Cymbeline rules over a divided dystopian Britain. Consumed with grief at the death of two of her children, Cymbeline’s judgement is clouded. When Innogen, the only living heir, marries her sweetheart Posthumus in secret, an enraged Cymbeline banishes him.
Behind the throne, a power-hungry figure plots to seize power by murdering them both. 

In exile Innogen's husband is tricked into believing she has been unfaithful to him and in an act of impulsive jealousy begins a scheme to have her murdered. Warned of the danger, Innogen runs away from court in disguise and begins a journey fraught with danger that will eventually reunite Cymbeline with a long-lost heir and reconcile the young lovers.' 

I could write forever about the set (it was always changing, so smoothly, so perfectly), the company (every cast member was 100% believable and commanded the space as they spoke), the music (having the band on a sort of mezzanine onstage is rather awesome)...but instead I'm going to explore just the one theme here: which character did I most fancy?? 

I did wonder this halfway through the performance, as the lights came up for the interval – my crush shifted many many times, and I needed to organise them in my mind. So here are my top 5 characters in the play of 'Cymbeline', and why I fancied the pants off them as I watched from the stalls. 

Innogen (played by Bethan Cullinane).

This young woman could work a towel, let me tell you. Her emotions – the struggles, the elation, and everything in between – were always right at the surface for all to see, and yet seemed to come from somewhere deep within her. At times I felt I should do something to help her, surely there must be some way I can help...I think she'd be the kind of partner I'd cuddle up with on the sofa watching a hard-hitting film or reading a classic novel. I'd always want her nearby and I'd protect her as best I could. 

Cloten (played by Marcus Griffiths).

This guy. I mean, his mad ranting, gambling, gesticulating, singing, hair tossing...I was all about that. His stage presence could not be denied. Well...until he was beheaded... 

Guidera (played by Natalie Simpson).

I should hate this girl because she beheaded super-cute Cloten, but then I couldn't hate her nor the undeniable twinkle in her eye and the love bursting from her in every scene – even when she was brandishing a decapitated head, she was feisty and had good intentions. And her badass dreadlocks were to die for. 

Pisania (played by Kelly Williams)

I think she'd really be my #1. We'd be an OTP, I'm sure of it. Her fierce and mighty loyalty struck me; when her life is threatened and good nature challenged by others, when she feels she must lie to her mistress to protect her feelings but then knows she really needs to tell her the hard truth, I was right there with her and admired her honesty. I'd want her by my side in a crisis. Also, her hairstyle was as bold and brave as she is, like wow. 

Iachimo (played by Oliver Johnstone). 

This guy was Past Me's total type. Downright arrogant and evil, yes, but also contorted with genuine desire and determined to win, whatever it took. He looked damn fine in a white suit, and I was mesmerised by his monologue as he emerged from the crate and salivated over sleeping Innogen... 

So, there we have it. My biggest crushes in the Royal Shakespeare Company's stunning innovative production of 'Cymbeline'. If you are intrigued by my comments on those characters' hotness, and maybe want to check out the rest of the cast, then hurry! The run ends 17th December. 

Also have a look at the Cast & Creatives page, maybe, and tell me if you agree with my choices. Although obviously my crushes were on the characters and not the actual actors - having said that, handsome and beautiful cast members did help...

Thank you so much, RSC babes, for this unique experience. See you again soon! 


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