Rupert everett

RSC’s Merchant of Venice is full of puzzling ornaments and accents

The BBC announces Merchant of Venice as if it were a Hollywood blockbuster. ‘In the melting pot of Venice, trade is God.’ The RSC, which staged the show in 2015, calls it ‘a thrilling, contemporary interpretation’. Each element in Polly Findlay’s production looks fine. Jacob Fortune-Lloyd and Patsy Ferran (Bassanio and Portia) are as cute as a pair of Love Island hotties. But the costumes are hard to decipher and they seem attached to no particular era. Most of the characters wear chic, well-tailored outfits except for Antonio (Jamie Ballard) who sports a T-shirt and seems close to tears most of the time. He and Bassanio are presented as openly