ANTONY and Cleopatra, Shakespeare's tale of passion, war and politics, is relocated to the roaring 20s, with bright young things in sharp suits and sparkly dresses in a glamorous new production by the Scullions.

A talented young company, started by three young men studying an MA in Shakespeare at Bath Spa University, the local company has flourished over the last two years - and this latest production, performed at Swindon Dance at the weekend, is their most ambitious to date.

The transposition to the 1920s was a bold and interesting move, framing this ancient love story in terms of partying aristocrats, coming into collision with the criminal underworld of prohibition America. Even better was the stage set up, in which the audience are seemingly sitting within the action on a level with the actors, like fellow guests at the party and in the private rooms where the action unfolds. The alcohol flows, jazz music plays and the conversation sparkles - but all too soon, violence breaks out.

There is plenty of acting talent to admire - actor and director Nicky Cooper is a calm, coldly calculating Octavius Caesar, Phoebe Mulcahy portrays Cleopatra as a stroppy rich girl, and Michael Weston brings an impressive mix of steel and charisma to his portrayal of Mark Antony. Saili Katebe is also quietly compelling as Enobarbus.

The music was occasionally intrusive, and the rendition of some of the dialogue not entirely clear in what can be a difficult play to follow if you are not familiar with it, and from time to time I would have appreciated more stillness on the stage - but do not let this stop you going to see the play when it comes to Shrivenham Memorial Hall on March 15-16.

This is a talented young company with a passion for what they do, the courage to aim high, and a genuine passion for Shakespeare.

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