The Merchant of Venice
originally opened at the Royal National Theatres Cottesloe in June 1999 to tremendous acclaim, with the Independent on Sunday
declaring it "magnificent". A complete sell-out, it was then forced to move to the much larger Olivier Theatre. Memorably set between the two world wars, The Merchant of Venice
featured a superlative performance from Henry Goodman as Shylock. Director Trevor Nunns production would go on to win a clutch of major awards, among them an Olivier and Critics Circle Theatre Award for Goodman and an Olivier and London Evening Standard Theatre Award for the director.
Immediately after its run at the National, The Merchant of Venice was moved to Pinewood Studios where it was adapted for television, produced and directed by Trevor Nunn with Chris Hunt. The result brilliantly captured the moody power of the original while endowing it with fresh screen intensity. A huge hit in the US, where it became the lead production for the 2001/2 seasons of Masterpiece Theatre, it was described by The New York Times as being "so rich and vibrant that it makes you wish you had seen it on stage."
"It is the best Merchant
for years" -- The Times
another remarkable success for the Nationals increasingly indispensable ensemble" -- Daily Telegraph