It truly is the summer of love. I got me a man. Also, love love love is the theme of the summer season at the Globe Theatre. I went on a tour of the Globe many years ago with my brother but this was the first time I would actually see something on the recreated stage. I was in for two very different experience of love; one that would end in tragedy and one that would end in happily ever after. One I would have a cushion, one I would be standing. That remind me of a famous Chaucer quote: “You’re good. You’re very good. My lords, my ladies, and everybody else here not sitting on a cushion!” Fine! It’s from A Knight’s Tale. My point is get the cushion.
First: tragedy and sitting. In spite the classic Shakespearean ending of everyone dying, Romeo and Juliet is a love story and that’s what I admire most about Daniel Kramer’s vision for the tale of star crossed lovers. Kramer has found the comedy of falling in love. It is awkward. You’re caught staring. You can’t control the words that come out of your mouth. You go for a kiss and bash faces. It was a welcome breath of fresh air for me and my friends. Unfortunately, it cannot last forever and the darker themes come to light. Revenge rears it’s ugly head and strikes down our young characters. The true scene stealer was the design of the production, black and white and eventually red all over. Romance as you’ve never seen it before.
Second: comedy and standing. I knew I could bare standing for nearly three hours with Twelfth Night because it’s a play I haven’t the displeasure of studying. This was going to be a brand new story to try and follow. Despite the twists and turns, the cast made it so easy to follow. The characters were over the top. In the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda “Love is love is love is love.” Boys were girls and girls were boys but none of that mattered. Love is also laughter. Some jokes were clever and some not so much. Personally, I like crude humour. The only word to describe this production is camp. Is that a bad word? I don’t know but it’s the best and only word I have to hand.
As I write these very late reviews, Shakespeare’s Globe have appointed actress and writer Michelle Terry as their new artistic director. Emma Rice will be leaving after deciding her “methods were not authentic enough.” Terry has appeared in many of Billy’s plays and maybe they hope she’ll bring the tights and ruffles back. But I don’t want it. These two productions are the most bonkers interpretations of these plays I have seen and that’s what made them great. “I never look back, darling! It distracts from the now.” I don’t want authentic or real, I want to escape. Let us.