Antony And Cleopatra [Drama On 3]


20141228 (R3)

Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston take the lead roles in this great tragedy of love and power, a new production to mark the 450th anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare.

Lovers, politicians, superstars. Antony and Cleopatra is Shakespeare's late and epic tragedy of mature love and the catastrophic fall from grace and power that it brings about. Irresistibly drawn together, the couple are surrounded by friends, enemies, admirers and critics, none of who remain unscathed by the folly and heartbreak of this magnificent pair. As empires clash around them, their destiny seems inevitable: to love each other till death and even beyond.

This new production of Antony and Cleopatra marks the return of Kenneth Branagh and Alex Kingston's Shakespearean partnership, last seen in their sold-out Macbeth at the Manchester International Festival in 2013.

A BBC Cymru Wales production for BBC Radio 3

Part of Radio 3's celebration of the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth. The mature love affair of Antony and Cleopatra is followed next week by the tragic story of young love, Romeo and Juliet.

Antony and Cleopatra is Shakespeare's last great tragedy.

Telling the story of one of history's most famous couples, Antony and Cleopatra contains some of the most beautiful poetry in the English Language.

Shakespeare's last great tragedy is an epic play of action set against a huge political and geographical backdrop, but at the centre of the play is a story about what happens when two people fall in love.

In this play, love is a madness that leads to excess and imbalance.

Antony and Cleopatra are middle-aged people who have loved before and often and they seize this late love as if it is their last chance.

Their love possesses them and destroys all rational behaviour.

Antony and Cleopatra are a celebrity couple - they live their lives in public and they wield tremendous power.

They are 'great' figures, and very conscious of their greatness - both are preoccupied with the figure they will cut in history.

But they are also 'a soldier and his lass', driven by common human emotions.

Shakespeare shows that great natures can produce great vices as well as great virtues - we see their vanity, cruelty and irresponsibility.

Like glamorous stars, Antony and Cleopatra are both deeply attractive and open to harsh judgement.


Cleopatra - Frances Barber

Mark Antony - David Harewood

Enobarbus - Roger Allam

Ocatavius Caesar - Colin Tierney

Lepidus / Clown - Ewan Hooper

Octavia - Amanda Root

Pompey / Sentry - Garry Cooper

Charmian - Claire Rushbrook

Iras - Helen Longworth

Eros / Varrius - Paul Hilton

Scarus / Alexas - Ben Onwukwe

Decretes / Thidias / Taurus - Martin Hyder

Philo / Canidius / Dolabella - Gerard Mcdermott

Maecenas / Demetrius - Sean Baker

Agrippa - Peter Marinker

Ventidius / Proculeius - Ben Crowe

Menas / Seleucus - Jonny Phillips

Ambassador / Soothsayer - Ian Masters

Mardian / Menecrates / Gallus - Peter Darney

Diomedes / Watchman - Carl Prekopp

Original music composed by Sylvia Hallett

Directed by Mary Peate.

Frances Barber and David Harewood star in Shakespeare's last great tragedy.

First broadcast in April 2014.