Scarce half made up – Richard III

I had the pleasure of going to Shakespeare’s Globe for the first time on Wednesday night. It has been on my ‘to do’ list since I arrived in London and but each year the summers have just seemed to run away before I could get around to organising tickets. I was suffering badly from the flu at the time and had considered giving a miss, but as I didn’t want to waste the money I dragged my tired, self-pitying, sore, aching head across the river instead of going straight to bed. It was brilliant and I’m so glad I finally went along!

The venue itself is absolutely stunning, set right on the Thames with a view of St Paul’s Cathedral, the river and a number of other London sights it is in the perfect area, buzzing and milling with people either attending the show, hanging out on the river bank, drinking in the neighbouring bars of fattening themselves at the close by restaurants. The sun was out (rare) so I sat outside for a while taking in the atmosphere before heading inside to get some snaps.

Although not the original, Shakespeare’s Globe is a brilliant model of the first, with a gorgeously painted stage and a beautiful thatched roof. I read that there is no seat in the entire place that isn’t at some point subject to an obscured view but the seat I had was brilliant, only missing out on seeing a couple of little things when, if I craned my neck in the right way I could see most of. The seats are incredibly uncomfortable so I recommend getting a cushion but it’s better than standing for long periods like those in the stalls do. Although, that’s where you get the cheap tickets.

As for the acting… well there are almost no words. I saw Richard III, a subject that is close to my heart having studied the man and his reign in history at school and the play at university. Directed by Tim Carroll, this version of Richard III was incredibly funny, captivating, and tragic at the same time. Mark Rylance played a brilliant Richard, slimy and dithering, hilarious, mischievous, charming and pitiful all rolled into one. Although the villain in the play, the audience came to love him and to my surprise, I found myself hoping he would succeed in his final, and fateful, battle against Richmond.

Costume was brilliant, playing to the intricacies of the characters and brilliantly done for the Ladies who, in this all male cast, played their roles flawlessly. Special note should go to Samuel Barnett who played Queen Elizabeth extremely well.

Although being one of the longest plays in Shakespeare’s canon, Tim Carroll did a fantastic job at pulling the story together, keeping the audience engaged and bringing the relationships between the characters to life while cutting some elements of the story out.

Overall, a brilliant evening, and brilliant experience! I am going again in a few weeks to see Taming of the Shrew and am really looking forward to it. Another that is close to my heart, and now that I’m in love with the venue, it will be even better!

 

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