As has been noted, 'Troilus and Cressida' is one of Shakespeare's less famous plays. Not because it is a bad or inferior play, far from it. The prose and characters are characteristically memorable and the comic and tragic elements and how they're balanced have always intrigued in Shakespeare (though other plays of his handle this more subtly). It is more down to how difficult it is to stage, with it being very psychological, how to respond to the characters puzzling some, its ambiguity and the questioning of values.
From 1978 to 1985 the BBC did an interesting if variable (don't dislike any of the productions, but not all of them are great) series of productions of all of Shakespeare's plays. That is one of the main reasons in seeing the productions, also with some of the plays having limited available competition on video or DVD. Another good reason being seeing casts consisting of fine actors, some early on in their career. Their version of 'Troilus and Cressida' is a solid one, do not think it as of now deserves to be one of the lower rated productions of the BBC Television Shakespeare series here. Put it somewhere in the middle, for a play with not many productions available this more than makes do.
Wasn't crazy about the production values where once again budget limitations are evident, just looked too drab and grim and the lack of authenticity sticks out like a sore thumb a bit.
Jack Birkett is less than incredible and goes too over the top, as has already been mentioned by some, as Thersites, the hamminess annoys and jars.
On the other hand, there is so much to recommend. The long takes of the camera work are beautifully judged, without ever making the action static and enhancing it at its best even, as is the distinguished delivery of the prologue. The production is directed most tastefully by Jonathan Miller, who is highly successful in making the characters interesting and easier to understand, keeping the character interaction detailed and compelling and balancing the comedy and tragedy smoothly and without being out of control (very problematic staging the play). The comedy is funny and doesn't feel over-played and the tragedy is genuinely moving.
Regarding the staging, a major highlight is the climax, the climax is one of Shakespeare's most harrowing and the staging of it in this 'Troilus and Cressida' is as brutal as they come. Hector's death lives long in the memory. Cressida agreed has a big scene that is quite devasting. Birkett aside, the acting is very good. Although age-appropriateness is called into question with some of the cast, that does not stop the performances themselves being great. Anton Lesser is a compelling Troilus while Suzanne Burden fares even better as a touching Cressida. Anthony Pedley is also fine. This 'Troilus and Cressida' production's best performances come from, and this has been mentioned by some already, Charles Gray's full of life Pandaras and Ben Whitrow's chillingly calculating Ulysses.
To conclude, solid. 7/10
During the Trojan War, a Trojan warrior is distraught when his lover takes up with a Greek.
Uploaded by: FREEMAN