Kim Cattrall as Cleopatra (Photo: Stephen Vaughan)

Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall and seasoned actor Jeffery Kissoon lead an excellent ensemble cast in the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse production of William Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra.

The tragedy is re-worked and modernised through the direction of Janet Suzman, who herself was noted for giving past memorable performances as Cleopatra.

Cattrall, of course, gives the production a big billing due to her star status and is very captivating over the three hours and ten minutes running time. In the programme notes, Cattrall said she was inspired by Suzman to become an actress. In return, she gives the director an encouraging performance that is likely to develop with real appeal.

Cattrall’s Cleopatra – the Queen of Egypt who Mark Antony (Kissoon) lusts after – is sexy, teasing, commanding and funny. She is supported by her handmaidens Charmian (Aïcha Kossoko) and Iras (Gracy Goldman), or her ‘women’ as she calls them, who – at a click of her fingers – answer her every beck and call in her palace in Alexandria, even leading up to her suicide.

Kissoon gives a performance of note as Antony but is far from convincing as one of the most powerful rulers of the world. He moves awkwardly around the stage but his delivery of Shakespeare’s language is poetic.
Standing out from the supporting cast is Martin Hutson as Octavius Caesar, who is dressed in a pinstriped suit during the first act and military outfit during the second act. Hutson plays Antony’s fellow triumviri like a leading lawyer taking his stance at a court room bar, with every word carefully expressed.

Peter McKintosh’s set is also equally captivating and simple with a metal bridge splitting the action. For instance, silver lanterns are raised and lowered to create Cleopatra’s Egyptian palace while a good dose of smoke is used for the creation of battle scenes.

In summary, the production may not be to everyone’s liking but praise must be given to Cattrall for coming back to her place of birth to take on such a challenging role.

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