THE WINTER'S TALEShakespeare's Globe at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
One of the four “late romances” staged in the Indoor Jacobean Playhouse this winter – Dominic Dromgoole's farewell to Shakespeare's Globe.
A sad tale's best for winter, Mamilius reminds us, and there is sorrow in Michael Longhurst's sumptuous production, but there's passion and humour too, and a warm glow to match the candlelight.
The space is exploited to the maximum – actors and musicians all over the stage and spilling into the auditorium. Garlands for the shearing, bright light for Bohemia, but stygian gloom for Leontes' court and the marauding bear.
Insanely jealous Leontes is played by John Light, his obsessive rage melting into grief and regret. Rachel Stirling is his Hermione, coolly regal with flashes of wit and passion. Tia Bannon makes an excellent Perdita – on both sides of the 16 year interval [nicely narrated by Sam Cox's ancient shepherd], and Niamh Cusack is a feisty Paulina.
James Garnon, a regular on the Globe stages, extracts every ounce of humour from Autolycus, with what sounds like a banjolele in his hand. The music is a constant presence, Simon Slater the composer, with a versatile band in the gallery, led by Stephen Bentley-Klein on violin.