Monday, July 13, 2009


Shakespeare's Globe on Tour

A fresh, irreverent Dream from Raz Shaw at Shakespeare's Globe, just one stop on its international tour.

Working on an Elizabethan booth stage, such as Shakespeare would have seen in Stratford's Market Place, but with costumes and music from the 1930s, eight actors changed character in a moment. A hat, an apron, a mechanical. Shades, fairies.

The packed yard on Bankside loved it. Bottom [Will Mannering ], often played as a pompous incompetent, here gave a delicious masterclass in overacting, Nicholas Craig style. He and Quince [ Chris McGill] had director's chairs with their names boldly on the back. Other stand-out performances from Sally Tatum as a gawky Helena [and a stroppy Starveling] and Bethan Walker as Puck, moonlighting from Berlin's Kit Kat Club, in top hat and black sequinned hotpants.

The Pyramus and Thisbe production, reliably hilarious, was given against a makeshift Globe backdrop – which will be even more amusing on the tour, I guess.

Against the Norman keep of Hedingham Castle, the cast were struggling to engage the audience, especially leeward of the constant wind. Not so much warm laughter here, but the physical comedy, the music and the props - puppet Indian Boy and teddy bear Lovers - helped get the story across, and the closing moments were delightful in the gathering darkness.

Two hours of magic and fun, suitable for all ages and levels of scholarship !

1 comment:

John Richardson said...

It was a beautiful setting with the castle keep as the background to their stage. As I sat there it reminded me slightly of the chapter in 'The Art of Coarse Acting' on 'open air performances' ! It was quite windy so we could hear the wind rustling the leaves in the trees; you could see and hear the planes going over to Stansted; people would stop watching to go off to the lavatories; the people behind us were eating fish and chips, rustling their papers ! WE at least had arrived early enough to have our picnic before the show started ...

Admission : I'm afraid that I struggle with Shakespeare and put this down to having to study various plays at school, analysing them which for me takes away any enjoyment that a simple 'watching' would have brought. So why is it that this week I am attending TWO open air performances ? Having said that I must admit that the cast worked really well and weaved their magic for me once my ear had adjusted to their performing volume, and the wind wasn't rustling too much, so 'all was well'

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