"the gross and scope of my opinion ..." Hamlet I,1.
Monday, October 03, 2016
TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA
GENTLEMEN OF VERONA
Shakespeare's Globe at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse
the Globe touring production that's been delighting audiences all
summer. Now it's back home, stuck slightly awkwardly in the candlelit
playhouse. It's too
big, bright and bold for this intimate space; it's a pity there was
no slot for it in the great Globe itself.
its charm, its passion and its sense of fun survive.
1966, it begins with a beige group of youngsters bopping to the hits
of the day, merging seamlessly into the daft plot. The
onstage band – this is a company of actor/musicians – are in a
garish booth at the back of the stage. Its roof, accessed by vertical
ladders, is a further acting area. Both
Kate Sykes, the designer, and
James Fortune, the composer, have embraced the flavour: a telling
contrast between Verona, that beige backwater, and Milano, where
it's at, fashion capital then as now.
are excellent, the timing honed over a long tour. Guy Hughes and
Dharmesh Patel are the gents in question; both give hilariously silly
interpretations. The girls [Aruhan Galieva and Leah Brotherhead]
have a bit more depth, especially at the tearful end with its
the rest, doubling
furiously and reaching for their instruments to form the backing
band, Amber James gives us a lovely Thurio and a cheeky Lucetta.
Mills takes Launce by the throat, with musician Fred Thomas as the
dog Crab. And, taking over from Adam Keast, injured in a stage fall
T J Holmes works the audience wonderfully as the other fool, Speed.
Swinging Sixties declined into the safer Seventies, there was a
Broadway musical based on this same comedy. Very much of its time, I
recall, and not nearly so faithful, or as much fun, as this stylish