Bell Shakespeare, 2009
Photo by Wendy McDougall for Bell Shakespeare.
Wearing its collaboration with percussion group TaikOz on its sleeve, John Bell’s production of Pericles was a whirl of colour and rhythm, full of the ebb and flow or the ocean, bound within a dream of a Japanese fable. From old Gower’s couplet-rhymed prologue and interludes to the raucous and unsettling humour of the brothel scene, to its wonder-upon-wonder conclusion, Julie Lynch’s costumes and set were drenched with an oceanic aesthetic, crowned by the haunting shipwreck scene. If memory serves, this was the first Bell Shakespeare production I saw and still that shipwreck haunts me. It was so simple, so poetic, so visually compelling and clever that you couldn’t help but watch in awe. And while I might not remember much else of the production, I have no doubt the image of Marcus Graham’s Pericles drowning will stay with me for a long time yet.