Alan Bates and Frances de la Tour in Antony and Cleopatra

Alan Bates and Frances de la Tour in Antony and Cleopatra

Alan Bates and Frances de la Tour appeared in the RSC's production of Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare's poetic tragedy of lust and lost empires. At 65 and 54 respectively, Bates and de la Tour admitted they brought a more mature reading of the partnership to the production. One of their strengths lay towards the end of the play, in portraying the feeling of the world slipping through their fingers into the hands of Rome. The Times review found the reading very moving: 'De la Tour catches Cleopatra's volatile exhibitionism, displaying affection, caustic command and self-mockery in what sometimes seems like a single moment, but it is vulnerability that finally defines her', while Bates also gave the audience 'smouldering embers rather than fire. Even his jealous rages and furious disappointments have an elegiac feel. The charisma and magnanimity are still there, along with a sensitivity and reflectiveness missing in almost every Antony'.

Yolanda Sonnabend's design mixed its styles and influences: 'the Book of the Dead, the haute couture of John Galliano, leather bikers' jackets for the Romans'.