The Great Globe itself

Readers may have noticed the lack of verse which has followed my earlier threats – and may, indeed, be thanking their lucky stars for this (though, my knowledge of astronomy is insufficient to suggest which particular stars should be in line for your thanks).  Thus far, my verse had remained entirely blank – not in the sense of iambic pentameter, but rather as a description both of the paper on which it is it be written and of the mind that is to write it.

In an attempt to remedy this lamentable situation, I decided to turn to the master of blank verse: Will.iamb Shakespeare himself (who so generously provided our title).  While there are always those who will dispute whether the Bard actually penned the plays wot he wrote, with one C Marlowe coming to a premature end in Deptford in 1593 and with my chosen play not being written until 1598 I think I can be reasonably confident.  So, yesterday I hied me back to Shakespeare’s Globe to catch their production of “Much Ado about Nothing”.

I had never previously seen Much Ado in the theatre, but I had seen the acclaimed Kenneth Branagh film at the Manors in Newcastle in the early 90s.  I arrived very late for the film and so had to sit in the front row and, as a result, my main memory of the film is the frankly disturbing sight of a 20 foot-wide projection of Emma Thompson’s bosom viewed at point blank range.  Still, time is a great healer (and, as previously established, I have a mercifully poor visual memory).

The Globe production of the play blows the film (good though it is) right out of the water – it was possibly the finest theatrical production I’ve ever seen and it is hard to imagine how Much Ado could be done better.  The cast and production were brilliant and, unlike some productions of Shakespearean comedies, it was really funny.  On the basis of my very limited Global sample (2) of late 16th century theatre, I would say that Bill is very much Chris’s superior in the play-writing stakes (which I believe are run over 7 furlongs).  The three hours flew by – though the interval sped past even faster: I barely had time to scarf the obligatory tub of ice cream!

To descend into cliché (to be honest, it wasn’t far out of my way): I laughed (a lot); I cried (a bit).  All a bit embarrassing the latter, as it was in broad daylight and I usually restrict my more lachrymose moments to the privacy of Fish Towers or the encircling gloom of the cinema.  Still, mild asthma can be used to cover a multitude of sins (well, perhaps ‘a multitude’ is over-playing my hand, but red eyes and a running nose are certainly covered).

There are a handful of performances still to go and readers should make every effort to grab a ticket – though I should point out that GofaDM cannot condone the breaking of any laws in your ticket procurement process.  Well, one can’t be too careful in these post-riot days – magistrates are handing down some pretty stiff sentences, in contrast to my own rather limp offerings.


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