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The red carpet was rolled out for the premiere of the groundbreaking adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice at the iconic Criterion Theatre in Piccadilly. Stars like David Walliams and Steve Furst dazzled as they arrived for this must-see theatrical event.

The night belonged to the sensational Tracy-Ann Oberman, who delivered a tour-de-force performance as the powerful Jewish moneylender Shylock. Oberman commanded the stage from her first electrifying moment, captivating audiences with her righteous anger and inner strength. This is undoubtedly the role of a lifetime for the EastEnders and Doctor Who star.

Set in the 1930s East End amid the rise of Oswald Mosley’s fascist Blackshirts, the provocative production transported viewers to a world on the brink of political unrest. Brigid Larmour’s slick adaptation kept Shakespeare’s verse sounding fresh and modern, while Liz Cooke’s striking period costumes and sleek set designs created a clandestine, noir-ish atmosphere.

The talented ensemble cast shone, with standout performances from Raymond Coulthard’s brooding Antonio and Gavin Fowler’s charming with brooding intensity and wit Gavin Fowler to match his on-stage wife Portia (Hannah Morish). But make no mistake, this was Oberman’s night to shine, and shine she did in a performance that will be remembered for years to come.

As the curtain fell, the star-studded crowd made their way to the swanky BAFTA 195 Piccadilly for an equally glamorous afterparty. Guests mingled and toasted the triumphant production, basking in the buzz of a premier that rewrote the rules for how Shakespeare can be interpreted for modern audiences.

The Merchant of Venice 1936 is a thought-provoking, powerful masterpiece that gives the Shakespeare’s classic a fresh, unforgettable spin. It’s a must-see theatrical event that will leave you spellbound from the first gripping moment to the last. Bravissima, Ms. Oberman!

Editor in Chief | Website | + posts

Editor in Chief of Ikon London Magazine, journalist, film producer and founder of The DAFTA Film Awards (The DAFTAs).