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Previewed 18 February 2004, Opened 19 February 2004, Closed 8 May 2004 at the Gielgud Theatre in London
The Royal Shakespeare Company present's Shakepeare's All's Well That Ends Well starring Dame Judi Dench and directed by Gregory Doran.
Helena, a doctor's daughter and now ward of the Countess' court, saves the life of the King using one of her father's secret prescriptions. Her reward - to take any man to be her husband. She chooses Bertram, the Countess' son. Appalled at having to marry a commoner, he declares he will never be hers until she obtains the ring he wears and is pregnant with his child, all of which is seemingly impossible...
The cast for All's Well That Ends Well in London features Judi Dench as 'Countess Rossillion' with Guy Henry as 'Parolles', Claudie Blakley as 'Helena', Jamie Glover as 'Bertram', Shelley Conn as 'Diana' and Mark Lambert as 'Lavache'. The production is directed by Gregory Doran with set designs by Stephen Brimson Lewis and costume designs by Deirdre Clancy. Previously seen at the RSC's Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon from December 2003 to February 2004.
Dame Judi Dench returns to the Royal Shakespeare Company to play the Countess. Without doubt one of this country's most distinguished actors, her RSC performances of Shakespeare's leading characters during the 1960's and 1970's are still regarded by many people today as definitive.
"It's always a special experience to see the great Dame Judi Dench tread the boards. But in this hauntingly beautiful production of Shakespeare's most awkward comedy she is the jewel in a glittering theatrical crown... Genuine belly laughs are provided by Guy Henry - whose hilarious portrayal of Bertram's cowardly and treacherous companion Parolles had the first-night crowd in hysterics. Director Gregory Doran's RSC production allows the strands of this difficult-to-categorise play to progress toward their less-than-tidy conclusion. A truly engrossing evening. It's great to have Dame Judi back in the West End." The Daily Mirror
"In Greg Doran's exquisite, tragicomic production of All's Well That Ends Well... it's the emotional truth and extraordinary eloquence of the performances that hold you spellbound... Judi Dench is truly radiant as the acutely sensitive, tender, wise Countess angered by her son's cheap behaviour, devastated by Helena's grief. No actor has such presence, none communicates so much by doing so little. Claudie Blakley's humiliated Helena weeps buckets but proves herself to be every inch a poised, plucky, passionate Shakespearean heroine and seizes the chance to trap Bertram into accepting her. This beautifully balanced production finds the humour of the play as well as its tragedy... For anyone who loves Dame Judi, Shakespeare, spotting the stars of future and acting of the highest quality, Doran's definitive production is not to be missed." The Mail on Sunday
All's Well That Ends Well in London at the Gielgud Theatre previewed from 18 February 2004, opened on 19 February 2004 and closed on 8 May 2004.