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Measure for Measure

OPEN 27/01/2023 - 04/02/2023

Venue Name: Abbey Theatre Studio

Venue Postcode: AL12DL


Credits: Shakespeare, adapted by Derek Coe

Box Office phone number: 01727857861

Societies: Company of Ten at Abbey Theatre

New adaptation of old favourite measures up well

With weak leadership, wicked men in power, the suffering of ordinary people and the sexual harrassment of women, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this play was written in the 21st Century. As ever, the Bard has created a tale for our times.

Derek Coe’s adaptation of Measure for Measure is coming to the Abbey Theatre Studio this month. Directing his own version, Derek returns to this fascinating play many years after having performed in a university production. Derek says, ‘The biggest challenge of this particular play is getting right the balance of tragic elements with broad comedy; at times it seems bleak and dark, then there are moments of farce and pantomime, in both the manic speed of the action and the verbal sparring of characters. The casual cruelty of powerful male on powerless female is oddly reminiscent of the Harvey Weinstein casting couch.’

Judy Jacques, the production assistant, comments on the play’s ‘highly contemporary quality as a drama about laissez-faire government leading to the abuse of power. What stands out strongly for me is male entitlement.’

This production, set in the 1920s, tells of the Duke of Vienna, both devious and dishonest, who values popularity over morality. The Duke is played by Paul Manuel, who says, ‘elements of comedy are woven into the darker themes of cynicism, exploitation, cruelty and hypocrisy, vividly illustrating the moral struggles and failures we continue to see played out in the public arena and of course within our secret selves. We also have to explore the challenging issue of Justice – the need to punish wrongdoing rather than to feebly tolerate lawbreaking out of a sense of pity – and whether those who make laws and set public standards should themselves be entirely virtuous at all times. This is a timeless theme. As the Duke puts it: “on this riddle runs the wisdom of the world: old news but still running”.’

With a pimp, a nun and a lewd brothel madam, Measure for Measure is certain to be ‘a merry, bawdy and irresistible evening’s entertainment.’

Performances take place in the Abbey Theatre Studio from Friday 27 January – Saturday 4 February at 8pm, with a matinee at 2.30pm on Sunday 29 January. To book tickets please go to or call the box office on 01727 857861.

  • : current/future_show
  • : 496108
  • : Abbey Theatre Studio
  • : 27/01/2023
  • : AL12DL
  • : 04/02/2023
  • : east_of_england
  • : Shakespeare, adapted by Derek Coe
  • :
  • : £13 / £12 concessions
  • : 01727857861



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