Not a Shakespeare drama I was familiar with thus far. Acquired it for a sample of an audition piece my daughter is doing for college. I watched it first time around in order to get the gist, and can't wait till I watch it again with her to assist with her comprehension of it.
Luckily I have enough Roman History to understand the context, otherwise I might have been lost. Cymbeline is 'the King of Britain' at the time of Augustus. There are free comings and going between Britain and Rome at this time.
It would appear that Shakespeare's plots grew ever more labyrinthine as he progressed. We have many of the usual devices, Royal children stolen at birth, a complex web of mistaken identities, cross-dressing, poisons that make one seem dead and have inintended consequences, manipulated suspicions of adultery. If a Hollywood script writer were to come up with this plot it would never see the light of day, but of course the exquisteness of language and expression make up for any contrivances of plot, a hundred fold.
The first time through I read it with the text to hand to help keep up, and I would estimate this production cuts about a quarter of the full play. Even so the result was well rounded and satisfying. Helen Mirren as the central Imogen is utterly riveting. And although only a relatively minor role Robert Lindsay comes off next best as the villainous Iachimo. Michael Hordern's brief but pivotal appearance as Jupiter has huge dignity.
While I found this production more than satisfying I would be intrigued to see the same play performed in a Roman setting with respect to costume and props. Being familiar with Roman history made it impossible for me to fully suspend disbelief presented as it was in a traditional Shakespearian setting.