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A CurtainUp Review
Romeo and Juliet
What The Globe does really well is historically accurate music and dance, costume and atmosphere and in this case some vigorous sword fighting as well. It is a total experience for visitors to London, a magical evening in a theatrical space, cheek by jowl with other members of the audience standing in the pit or crammed onto the wooden benches in the seating areas that surround the stage. What the Globe is not, on this occasion, is innovative or experimental or ground breaking theatre. It fulfils what most people have come for, a traditional production in a traditional setting and most people leave more than satisfied. But we critics look for something more and in the last two years the Globe seemed to be closer to pleasing critics.
Tim Carroll who was responsible for the award winning Twelfth Night is Master of Play (the Globe's quaint title for the director) for Romeo and Juliet. Playing in the Globe's space is an acting skill little used nowadays. The actor has to be heard above the noise of rain and helicopters in a space where the sound is often sucked up into the starlit void -- the area above the Pit which is open to the elements. It calls for the opposite of underplaying as in most close camera work where many actors make the major part of their living, but for a clear and distinct voice that can carry. Many of the actors in Romeo and Juliet are repeating previous year's experience at the Globe.
There were moments I really enjoyed. In the balcony scene, Juliet hides when she realises her romantic musing on Romeo has been overheard, peeping out from under the rug that covers the balcony. The male actor Bette Bourne is cast as the nurse and he gives a really enjoyable performance with plenty of humour. But the space seemed too large for the young lovers to convince us of the intimacy of their passion.
Mendes at the Donmar
Peter Ackroyd's History of London: The Biography
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co. Click image to buy.
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
Click image to buy.
Go here for details and larger image.