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Posts Tagged ‘globe theatre’

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For this performance of the much loved Shakespeare play, the action has been moved to Mexico in 1910, shortly after the Mexican revolution. Soldier’s Don Pedro, Benedick and Claudio are returning from the war, with Claudio anxious to see his love Hero, while Benedick and Hero’s cousin Beatrice have a snippy, sarcastic relationship. The audience of course know that they love each other, even if Benedick and Beatrice have yet to realise it themselves. Fortunately, Don Pedro and the rest of their friends scheme to bring the two together, and I don’t think it’s giving anything away to say that despite their reluctance, they do of course work things out in the end. Along the way however, Don Pedro’s scheming sister Don Juana (as opposed to Don John) schemes to break up Hero and Claudio which causes their wedding to be wrecked when Claudio falsely believes that Hero has cheated on him. Bumbling and inept detective Dogberry fortunately steps in to save the day, and naturally the situation resolves itself.

I was very intrigued to see how the more modern Mexican setting would change the staging and perhaps alter the focus of the play, as opposed to it’s original setting in Messina. Fortunately although there was a more ‘brutal’ atmosphere to the staging, the comedy and the verbal sparring between Beatrice and Benedick remained safely intact, and I thought Beatriz Romilly and Matthew Needham were excellent in their respective roles. I also really liked Steve John Shepherd as Don Pedro. Anya Chalotra brought just the right amount of sympathy and vulnerability to the role of Hero, and Claudio was played well by Marcello Cruz (Claudio is not my favourite character in this play; I always thought he was gullible, and disloyal to the lady he was supposed to love – Cruz managed to straddle the line between displaying that and yet somehow getting the audience onside at the end).

The role of Dogberry was played by Ewan Wardrop – for me, Dogberry is one of the funniest characters, but also one of the easiest to overplay…he could easily tip over into being annoying, but Wardrop was note-perfect in this production.

Plenty of Mexican music added to the atmosphere, with two musicians constantly on stage and shown in silhouette. The props were also clever, with Don Pedro and Claudio strolling around in stilts of a sort, and with wire horses (no, I haven’t described that very well, but trust me, it worked).

All in all, this was a very enjoyable and very imaginatively staged production of the play, which shows how Shakespeare can retain all his original beauty yet still be adapted to different times and settings.

If you are a Shakespeare fan (or even if you’re not) I would recommend you try and catch this production while it’s on.

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Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is somewhere that I have wanted to visit for a long time, and I was very fortunate that my first (but certainly not my last) visit there was to see this wonderful production of one of Shakespeare’s best-loved comedies.

Briefly, the story of As You Like It centres on Rosalind, the daughter of a Duke who has been banished from his own court by his brother. Rosalind has been allowed to stay at the court because the new Duke’s daughter Celia (Rosalind’s cousin) and she are great friends, but the new Duke worries that Rosalind might commit treason and banishes her from the court too, but not before Rosalind has met and instantly fallen for Orlando, a young man who has been denied his birthright by his older brother. Rosalind and Celia run away to the Forest of Arden, with Rosalind disguised as a man named Ganymede, and Celia disguised as a servant girl named Aliena. There, Rosalind again meets Orlando, who is pining for her, but doesn’t realise that his new friend is in fact the girl he fell in love with at the court.

Meanwhile, young shepherd Silvius is in love with shepherdess Phebe, but she in turn has fallen for a young man named Ganymede (!) And there are also love problems for Touchstone, the court jester who has accompanied Rosalind and Celia on their adventure. I don’t think it’s giving anything away to say that it all gets sorted out in the end, but there is  much confusion and – for the audience – much hilarity along the way.

As You Like It is one of my favourite comedies, and this production was simply superb. Michelle Terry was absolutely wonderful as Rosalind – captivating and funny, and frankly adorable. I also loved Simon Harrison as Orlando, and was not the only female in the audience to share in Rosalind’s delight when he took his shirt off near the beginning of the play! James Garnon, who will be familiar to many who have been to the Globe before (or who, like me, have watched televised performances from the Globe) played Jacques, the melancholy, cynical Lord, who lives with the banished Duke and his men in the forest. This character can occasionally seem surplus to requirements (apart from his famous All the World’s A Stage speech, and his Seven Ages of Man speech), but in the capable hands of Garnon, Jacques was not only enjoyable, but actually essential to the play. Special mention also to Ellie Piercey as Celia – who has ALWAYS been one of my favourite characters in this play – and Daniel Crossley as Touchstone. (Touchstone is another very divisive character, with many people finding him annoying or pointless; however, in this production, he was lovable, funny and – unexpectedly – a marvellous tap dancer!)

To say that the play was funny would be a huge understatement. It was actually hilarious, largely due to the gutsy and uninhibited performance of Michelle Terry, and the whole audience seemed very appreciative of the entire, excellent cast.

To sum up – a wonderful production, in a beautiful setting. If you get chance to see this play, take it – you won’t regret it!

(Click here for more information about Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, or this production.)

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Much Ado About Nothing is one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies, and this particular production, starring Eve Best and Charles Edwards, was filmed live at Shakespeare’s Glove Theatre, in 2011.  Briefly, the storyline for the play revolves around two pairs of would-be lovers: Beatrice and Benedick (Best and Edwards), who verbally spar with one another and pretend to feel contempt for one another, although there is obviously chemistry between them.  The other couple are Hero and Claudio, who fall in love, but on the night before they marry, Claudio is duped into thinking that Hero has been unfaithful, and cruelly rejects her in front of everybody at their wedding.

While (without actually counting the lines), I would guess that at least as much time, if not more, is given to the Hero/Claudio story as is given to the Beatrice/Benedick story, it is really the latter couple that make this play come alive for me, and Eve Best and Charles Edwards are just wonderfully cast.  Both of them made me laugh out loud, and the scenes where first Benedick and then Beatrice are tricked into thinking that the other has feelings for them were beautifully done, with some wonderful physical comedy adding to Shakespeare’s witty script.

Philip Cumbus was an effective Claudio; Cumbus does actually make him fairly sympathetic, and Only Uhiara was also very good as Hero, although I get irritated with Hero in every production or film I see of Much Ado….. because – spoiler alert – she takes Claudio back, instead of kicking him into touch, which he deserves.

If you are a fan of Shakespeare, or just like good comedy, I definitely recommend this, mainly for the highly comedic yet touching story of Benedick and Beatrice, which was truly joyful to watch, largely because of the perfect performances of Eve Best and Charles Edwards.

Year of production: 2011 (first televised in 2012)

Director: Jeremy Herrin

Writer: William Shakespeare (play)

Main cast: Charles Edwards, Eve Best, Philip Cumbus, Only Uhiara, Joe Caffrey, Joseph Marcell

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Click here for my review of the 1993 film adaptation.

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This is a review of a live performance at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, and which was televised.

The story of Othello is a well known one, combining love, jealousy and betrayal.  Othello (Eamonn Walker) marries Desdemona (Zoe Tapper), and his jealous soldier Iago (Tim McInnery) conspires to make Othello believe – wrongly – that Desdemona has cheated on him.  Othello’s jealousy and rage wreaks devastating results.

What a fabulous production this was – I only wish I could have seen it live, rather than a televised performance.  Eamonn Walker was just superb as the title character – perfectly displaying in the first part of the play exactly why Desdemona has fallen in love with him (quite frankly, who wouldn’t fall in love with him?!)  He is noble, wise and devoted to his wife.  Which makes his breakdown as a result of his belief that his wife has been unfaithful, all the more devastating.  It is truly a stunningly good performance.  The same can be said of Tim McInnery, who played the diabolical Iago with such aplomb, bringing menace and humour to the role.

Zoe Tapper as Desdemona, and Lorraine Burroughs as Emilia both looked beautiful, and were excellent in their respective roles.  In fact, there was no weak link in the cast at all.  The staging was simple but effective, and the costumes were glorious.  But more importantly, the play was incredibly compelling and dramatic – at a little over three hours, it is not a short play, but every minute is worth watching.

I strongly recommend this, especially but not only, for Shakespeare fans.

Year of production: 2007 (first televised in 2008)

Director: Wilson Milam

Writer: William Shakespeare (play)

Main cast: Eamonn Walker, Tim McInnery, Zoe Tapper, Lorraine Burroughs, Sam Crane, Nick Barber

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