Summer is here and despite a lapse in sunshine, there’s nothing like watching history in such a cultural setting. In the middle of Cardiff Castle, surrounded by its brick walls, we were encouraged to sit on the gardens and in our own chairs, enjoying picnics and little tipples while British Theatre unfolds.
It’s surely a testament to Shakespeare and his wonderful writing that we are still taking his plays and producing our own adaptations. It is of course also down to the performers to bring it alive.
Often companies to revive the well known plays to a modern audience will base it in a familiar setting for them to relate to and get other generations involved. And there’s no quabble that there are beautiful renditions in this manner. However, sometimes it’s just what you need to see his plays produced in the original way they were.
There was an essence of The Globe about the setting (despite us sitting down). While the heavens wanted to open no one moved, rooted to the ground. The company did what is very rare to see these days and had an all male cast – back to the roots, men were the ladies and doubling up was continuous. Such brilliant actors, this only added to the comedy and the men playing women did the right amount of ‘hamming up’ for comedy and reflect the writing without ruining the character or the illusion. Transitioning to other male characters, they easily transformed their voices and persona to counteract previous characters, showing the brilliance of these performers.
Benedict was especially funny. A evidently talented and comical actor, he executed his actions and the text with the right intention and was by far the most hilarious on stage – one time flinging himself across the stage and surprising other actors into corpsing. Some see this as a bad aspect but audiences enjoy seeing the performer’s finding things humorous and showing their enjoyment of what they are doing.
The Lord Chamberlain’s men will be continuing to tour this wonderful production. Spice up your Summer with some old fashioned fun. If you’re unable to experience The Globe, this production is a close second.