The play has been billed as one of "the great classics you've never seen"; the main theme of the RSC's autumn season. It is indeed a great Chinese classic but from the offset the RSC's production of it was covered in controversy, not a great start for the new artistic director Gregory Doran. This great Chinese classic play only included 3 East Asian actors in a 17 strong cast and it was this lack of authenticity that caused controversy and raised questions about the new production. Although there was a lack of actors of East Asian origin and the fact that all 3 played minor roles their performances were outstanding, as were the rest of the cast. All of the cast deserved a standing ovation which overshadows the lack of Chinese actors. The whole of the production, however, was in Chinese tradition and standards. The cast, the speech, the stage, and the symbolism were all simple and easily understandable but also very powerful and touching to the audience.; for example every time there was death on stage red rose petals descended from the sky in order to mark this or when there was a sundry beating this was suggested to the audience by flailing sticks that never make contact with anyone.
Although at first I was disappointed by the high percentage of the englishness of the cast I cannot let this diminish the power of the production by the RSC and this is definitely a great classic that you've never seen but one that you must.