I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
I attended a filmed version of this play, performed in the reconstructed Globe Theatre in London. The costuming was wonderful, plus the music was excellent! Jonathan Price was a convincing Shylock and his real-life daughter Phoebe played the role of Shylock’s daughter Jessica. Between the two of them, they managed to make Antonio & the other Christians look like the monsters of the piece.
Of course I knew about the whole “pound of flesh” issue, but I didn’t know many other details of this play, which is controversial enough that it is not regularly performed. I was pleasantly surprised to see the humour in the scenes which included Portia and her suitors and in the final scene where the disposal of rings becomes an issue. It also made me smile as Portia and her maid Nerissa disguised themselves as men, in good Shakespearean tradition. The role of Lancelot Gobbo was charmingly played by Stefan Adegbola, who brought to members of the audience to the stage to assist with his decisions to change masters.
A worthwhile play to attend, it is a thought-provoking piece and a must for every Shakespeare fan.