Saturday, 16 August 2014

'Antony and Cleopatra' Shakespeare's Globe ***

The wondrous Shakespeare's Globe has proven to have had a fruitful year with such productions as ‘Titus Andronicus’ causing audiences to faint, due to its violent scenes, and William Shakespeare's historical masterpiece ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ was a play filled with delightful romanticism and acceptable performances. Shakespeare wrote ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ around 1606 and follows the happenings after Julius Caesar’s demise and the downfall of Brutus and his fellow accomplices. Caesar's Roman Empire is now governed by a triumvirate of Lepidus, Octavius Caesar and Mark Anthony. Currently the Roman Empire is fighting a battle with a frequent antagonist, which is Julius Caesar’s enemy’s son. However, Anthony has forgotten his important duties as a husband to Fulvia, and is preoccupied with love of his mistress, Cleopatra, The Queen of Egypt. Whilst visiting Egypt, Antony has learned about the failure of Fulvia and his siblings’ campaign contrary to Octavius Caesar has been progressing well above his station. Due to the apprehensive and unknowing nature of Rome at the current time, Mark Anthony has had to tear himself away from Egypt, and more notably his paramour Cleopatra. The three rulers encounter with one another, in Rome, in the hope that they can resolve their issues and re-establish a working and productive relationship. Nonetheless, a proposed marriage with the Octavius’ sister, Octavia is discussed as a possible solution to solve their problems. Unfortunately, Antony explains this is not an option as his love for Cleopatra cannot be forgotten. Stereotypically, with an array of Shakespeare plays, ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ is packed full of tragedy, romance, and some hints of violence and within this presentation, it has been constructed with conceivable precision. One found the performances by the company of ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ were wonderful and tasteful. Eve Best is astounding as the Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra. She moved around Shakespeare’s Globe stage with a whimsical approach and her vocal range was severely commanding. Clive Wood is brilliant as Cleopatra’s love interest and Rome’s many leaders, Mark Antony. I thought that he was dominant with the productions’ ensemble, one of whom is Sebastian Hill, and his romantic scenes with Best were sublime. Phil Daniels is graceful as Enorbus. He provides the humorous moments within the play, and his comic timing was immaculate throughout the entire performance. The direction by Jonathan Murphy was courteous, as we are witnessing a classic play and seeing a battle for authority with tenacity and ease. On the other hand, a few elements needed more strength and command, bequeathed a slightly disappointing proportion of the performance. Colin Richmond’s set and costume designs were carefully considered. Alternatively, at times I became confused with what location the play was in at specific moments. Overall the experience of 'Antony and Cleopatra' was engaging, mostly. You should endeavour to witness this for yourselves. 

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