When I lived near London a visit to Shakespeare’s Globe was an annual event. However since moving north I have missed out. This year I went to see Measure for Measure; a bawdy romp with a serious side. Sex and justice, love, lust and a full measure of hypocrisy played out with a fine combination of noisy humour and heartfelt seriousness. Variety called it “Shakespeare without a safety net” a good description.
Undoubtedly Brendan O’Hea as Lucio deserves the biggest cheer for the comedy. He played Lucio as a foppish gossip, a kind of Julian Clary without the dog, hilarious. On the more serious side Mariah Gale’s Isabella at times took your breath away. This along with Dominic Rowan‘s Duke gave the play its moral edge.
It might be a good idea for some of our more censorious politicians to take note.
My second Shakespeare this week was very different. The Illyria troupe’s The Taming of the Shrew outdoors at Hill House in Helensburgh. As an aside The Hill House is one of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s finest creations and well worth a visit with or without Shakespeare.
An anxious few hours before the play as the rain teamed down before it cleared just in time for the performance. Five furious performers playing all the parts provided what seemed to me an authentic look at what it would really have been like. As Dr Reaveley Gair a scholar of Elizabethan times said, “Illyria’s five actors are the direct heirs of Shakespeare’s wandering players.”
It was great frantic fun, they are still touring throughout the summer and well worth a visit.