Year: 1960

Title of the play: The Merchant of Venice

Author: William Shakespeare

Director: Anthony Richardson

Others in the Cast: Ralph Nossek, John Atkinson, William Young, Michael Robbins, Madeleine Newman, Geraldine Newman

Company/Event: The Queen’s Players

Theatre and location: Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch

Other productions of the same play: BBC Play of the Month, directed by Cedric Messina in 1972. Peth played Lorenzo.

Plot summary: Antonio borrows from Shylock to help Bassanio win wealthy heiress Portia. Shylock makes Antonio sign a bond offering a pound of his flesh if the loan is not repaid in 3 months. Lorenzo, a friend of Bassanio and Antonio, elopes with Shylock’s daughter, Jessica. This enrages Shylock, who vows to show no mercy should Antonio default, which he does, as his ships are lost at sea. Antonio is arrested and brought before court. In court, Portia, disguised as a lawyer, wins the case.

Peth’s role: Lorenzo, the young lover


On the BBC production: The program notes in Radio Times note that "the Venice of Titian and the Belmont of Botticelli are the visual inspiration behind . . . [this] lavish production." Subsequently this policy of designing sets and costumes by emulating the works of painters more or less contemporary with Shakespeare became virtually standard practice in the later years of the BBC Shakespeare Plays series. This production shows that the idea was already well developed in the prior work of Cedric Messina and his colleagues - Shakespeare on Screen : an International Filmography and Videography" by Kenneth S. Rothwell and Annabelle Henkin Melzer.

Production details: Here

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