It may not always be illuminating, but there is such talent and clarity of story in the Honest Fishmongers production of Measure for Measure it is never a ‘problem’.
The morality in 17th century Vienna has gotten a little lax, but rather than try to rein it in himself, the Duke decides to delegate that task to his underlings Angelo and Escalus. With a puritanical hand, Angelo resurrects a previously unused law that condemns Claudio to death for getting his girlfriend pregnant. Despite taking a moral high-ground, Angelo lusts after Claudio’s sister Isabella, trying to convince her that the only way to save her brother is to have sex with him. But even with her brother’s life in the balance, Isabella just can’t do it. Of course, the big ruse here is that the Duke has not actually left Vienna, and with a huge case of his own questionable morals secretly manipulates the action disguised as a Friar.
Measure for Measure is so rife with moral ambiguity that if we had not been told it takes place in 17th century Vienna, one might be forgiven in thinking that it was set in a pre-Berlusconi Italy where a little “bunga bunga” is both reviled and celebrated.