Review: King Lear at Shakespeare’s Globe

Yesterday I saw the Globe’s touring production of King Lear, which is performing at the Globe for just this week before going back on the road. I love seeing the touring productions, and often enjoy them more than the, er, stationary ones, because the reduced size of the cast and required portability of the stage always seems to encourage more originality.

This production was no exception. There was a cast of eight actors, all playing several parts and providing all the music and sound. Joseph Marcell was Lear; he’s a really great actor, and although his Lear was often pretty likeable (maybe a bit too likeable sometimes?) there were several flashes when he was quite terrifying. Rawiri Paratene was Gloucester, Albany and the doctor. Now, I last saw Paratene in the amazing Maori Troilus and Cressida last year, which was the absolute best thing I’ve ever seen in a theatre; I was really glad to see him back. I did keep getting his characters mixed up more than the others, but thinking back I’m not sure why because there was definitely a big fancy coat involved when he was playing Albany that wasn’t there when he was Gloucester, and I think the Doctor had a large hat, so I’m a bit confused as to why I was confused. I suppose I was probably a bit fangirly and forgetting to do the whole paying attention to what is happening thing when he was on the stage. Sigh.

Bethan Cullinane played Cordelia and the Fool, and I really liked her and her amazing shoes. Cordelia is such a tiny part for such an important character so I was glad she got to go Fooling as well. She got some big laughs and the Fool’s relationship with Lear was really well-painted. The other two sisters were played by Ruth Everett and Shanaya Rafaat and I loved how believable and not too cartoon-villainy they were. And I loved Rafaat in the eye-removing scene. Dickon Tyrrell was the Earl of Kent and was playing mainly for laughs, and Oliver Boot as Edmund, Oswald and the King of France seemed to be playing it similarly. I did really love Boot’s Edmund though, he was really sleazy and two-faced. Finally, Matthew Romain played Edgar, Cornwall and Burgundy. He was also great in the eye-removing scene (as Cornwall), but I especially liked his Edgar/Poor Tom. He was good at making Edgar seem both sympathetic and funny, and he played the audience as well as his fiddle. He is also very good at falling over.

I really enjoyed the staging,the costumes, the music and especially the fight scenes; I was standing right at the front of the Yard and felt like I was taking my life in my hands, either from being impaled by a sword or hit by a staff, which seemed quite a possibility at one point. I’m not sure how the sword fights came across in the rest of the theatre but from my position they looked bloody brilliant, although, yes, terrifying. I felt like I was constantly stepping backwards.

I think this King Lear was maybe a bit less dark and dramatic than would be expected, and it was definitely a lot funnier than I remember the play being, but I think it worked for this particular production, and I actually enjoyed this show the most of all the shows I have seen so far this season. I’m slightly surprised that in my mind it has beaten the Georgian As You Like It, but I think that this is due to it being the second time I’ve seen that show; if I’d been seeing AYLI for the first time it would still be top, enjoyability wise.

I think that maybe this is what I loved about this show, the element of surprise. Don’t get me wrong, I knew exactly what was going to happen in the plot, but the nature of this production, with its sparse staging and tiny cast, and all those fight scenes happening just slightly too close to my head for complacency, meant that this show was just so ENTERTAINING. There we go, we got there in the end. That’s what this production was: entertaining.

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Review: As You Like It at Shakespeare’s Globe

Last night I was back at the Globe for the Georgian production of As You Like It, which is on for six performances only over the course of this week. This was my second favourite of the Globe to Globe Festival last year, so of course I was pretty ecstatic that the Marjanishvili was invited back.

The show takes the line ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players’ and runs with it. It’s performed as a play within a play, with As You Like It being performed on a stage, er, on the stage, and the actors performing all of their backstage antics as well. It works really well and means that there is always something to look at.

The whole cast is wonderful, it has a nice ensemble feel, and although it isn’t¬†always¬†the easiest to follow what’s going on, there are scene synopses at the side of the stage to fall back on.

The production is silly, and funny, and sweet, and I would quite happily have walked straight back into the theatre to watch it again. With theatre this good, language is no barrier at all.

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Double Side-Striped Nail Art

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Using Barry M in Cobalt Blue and Models Own nail art pen in black.

A few weeks ago I tried some Side-Striped Nail Art and said I’d like to try it with stripes on both sides, so here it is! Get me, doing something I set out to do. I forgot to take the photo before I put on the top coat, which is why it’s so annoyingly shiny in the image above, sorry.

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