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REVIEW: The five-star Merchant of Venice at the RSC is a powerful and timely reminder to resist heinous propaganda

Review by Steve Sutherland: The Merchant of Venice, The Swan, until 7th October, then touring before returning to the RSC 24th January to 10th February 2024

Five stars

"Uncontrolled immigration, inadequate integration, and a misguided dogma of multiculturalism have proven a toxic combination for Europe over the last few decades... you can see it play out on the streets of cities all over Europe. From Malmo, to Paris, Brussels, to Leicester… Multiculturalism makes no demands of the incomer to integrate. It has failed because it allowed people to come to our society and live parallel lives in it. They could be in the society but not of the society. And, in extreme cases, they could pursue lives aimed at undermining the stability and threatening the security of society… The nation-state must be protected."

Merchant of Venice
Merchant of Venice

You’d be forgiven for assigning the above quotes to some heinous propaganda pamphlet published in Nazi Germany during the 1930s but, sadly, you’d be wrong. To our eternal shame, these are the words of our Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, addressing a meeting in Washington DC only last Tuesday in an attempt to undo the UN's 1951 Refugee Convention which outlines the rights of the displaced, as well as the legal obligations of nations and states to protect them.

Braverman went on to say that it is unsustainable to have an asylum system where, “simply being gay, or a woman, and fearful of discrimination in your country of origin, is sufficient to qualify for protection."

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