14 April 2016

Better a witty fool than a foolish wit

The cast of Twelfth Night
On Saturday I was in Auckland for a theatrical outing to the Pop-up Globe with family and friends, for the performance of the First Folio Shakespeare comedy Twelfth Night. The local players in the all-male cast provided an accomplished performance, with some handling the comedic roles with the aplomb expected of an RSC cast. The plot being a knockabout confection of cross-dressing confusion – Shakespeare has one of the characters remark on its improbable fiction – players with a strong command of farce offered the most skillful performances. Particular mention should be made of the adroit comic skill of Paul Willis as the watermelon-hatted Sir Andrew Aguecheek, the camp Carry On excess of Daniel Watterson as Countess Olivia, Stanley Jackson's gurning Malvolio, and Adrian Hooke’s louche charm as Feste the musician.

An undoubted contributor to the success of the play experience is the venue itself, an ingenious concoction of scaffolding, plywood and corrugated iron that is modeled on the second Globe, erected in 1614. Hence it's a different size than the current replica Globe on the South Bank in London - the audience is closer to the stage and the groundlings' yard is narrower. The Pop-up Globe is a brilliant idea and I hope it's able to tour more broadly. I could envisage a continual circuit of Australia and New Zealand in the summer months, before being shipped to the US and Canada for the northern summer. A small New Zealand crew could manage the shipping, construction and management, while local theatre troups could handle the casting and productions. I'd love to be able to see a New Zealand production in the Pop-up every year, or perhaps two. Even better if it was in Wellington, but they'd have to test it thoroughly for wind resistance!   

See also:
Theatre: Antony & Cleopatra at the Globe, 6 June 2014
Theatre: Coriolanus at the Donmar, 24 February 2014
Theatre: Othello at the National Theatre, 20 October 2013
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