Cardenio Review (The Rose Theatre / Aporia Theatre Collective)

It's not all tube strangers and hula hoop letters here at Minty Bit Stronger. I also like to occasionally offer up some culture to feed my readers vociferous intellectual appetites. The culture I speak of is theatrical in this instance. A play called Cardenio, arguably a lost Shakespeare masterpiece, being performed at the spooky Rose Theatre.

Cardenio could be described as a play about two women who share little similarity besides their mistreatment and objectification by men; conceivably a one act tragedy about feminine rebellion in an age of accepted misogyny. This is what I took for my truth. A play so rich and beautifully complex as Cardenio has any number of themes to satiate a theatre goers thirst. The themes of power, ownership, fidelity and duty sit alongside themes of love, family, sacrifice and honour.
The title character Cardenio (Matt Gibbs) and Luscinda (Paloma Oakenfold) are in love, but she is passionately desired by King Fernando (Ryan Burkwood). The King has the power to take her and is given license to do so by Luscinda's own power hungry conniving mother, Helvetia (Chris Range). But the King resists because he would prefer Luscinda to come to him of her own volition. The play spins forth from here with melodrama and grace in equal measure. The two women battling for control of their own destinies.

Cardenio is beautifully performed and staged in a venue dripping with history and archeological ruin. The actors are ghosts forced to replay their Jacobean tragedy down the shadow of history. The representative style of performance sits well with the text and the influence of feudal Japan lends a fresh perspective and elegance. The climatic, final few minutes illicit disgust, horror and surprise but the journey to them shows human nature beautifully in a way only a great ensemble working with a great director can.

Cardenio runs until the 29th September 2012
Tickets are available at