Monday, November 05, 2012


Read Not Dead at Shakespeare's Globe

In the round, in the space at the top of the Sackler Studios, Bear Gardens, a "slight piece of mirth" probably first heard at the Cockpit, an indoor house, in 1640.
It's a satirical comedy, with plenty to say about theatre politics, court intrigue, financial scandals and "projectors", as well as the role of women, though Beeston's Boys – the probable troupe for the premiere – naturally boasted no actresses in its numbers.

All credit to Martin Hodgeson and his actors for making this often obscure text so entertaining in this very enjoyable rehearsed reading. Many familiar faces, as ever, with Ben Whitrow highly amusing as Sir Raphael, "an old Knight that talks much and would be thought wise", and Michael Cronin masterly as the Beggar of the title, Sir Andrew Mendicant. Shaun Prendergast made the most of the serving man Gabriel, very at ease with the role, the space and the text. Globe regulars included James Wallace as Sir Ferdinand, Daniel Abelson as a boy constantly on the run, and James Thorne as Mr Dainty. And Frances Marshall, memorable last year in Private Resistance, was a constant delight as Lady Strangelove, "a humorous widow, that loved to be courted".

An intriguing glimpse of theatre just after Shakespeare and just before the theatres closed, to re-open practically unrecognisable at the Restoration.
Just the sort of entertainment which would suit the new Indoor Jacobean space, round the corner in New Globe Walk …

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