‘Measure for Measure’ is set in Vienna where we are introduced to Duke Viencentio who informs the people of Vienna that he intends to leave the city to venture on a diplomatic mission; as such he appoints judge Angelo to rule Vienna in his absence. The cities brothel keeper, Mistress Overdone (Petra Massey) informs Lucio (Brendan O’Hera) and the other people in the city that Claudio, an unmarried man is being condemned to death due to the fact he got Juliet (Naana Agyei-Ampandu) pregnant. As a result of a new law, this means that all brothels have to be torn down, the bawd Pompey (Trevor Fox) promises Mistress Overdone that he’ll continue working for her. Over the course of the performance, Claudio is immeasurably agitated about his death sentence, so he along with Lucio persuades Duke Viencentio to oversee Angelo’s lacklustre approach. Thankfully, he accepts this request and poses as a Friar. Escalus (Paul Rider), second in command pleads to Angelo to reconsider Claudio’s death penalty, but Angelo is unrepentant, furthermore, Claudio’s sister, Isabella (Mariah Gale) is desperate to save her brother’s life. Throughout this presentation, Isabella interrupts the Duke’s guidance to her brother, Claudio, and when the Duke overhears their conversation about Angelo’s suggestion for her to become his lover which she has declined. The Duke seizes to state his own opinion by proposing that Isabella should agree to Angelo’s offer, nevertheless, Marianna (Rosie Hilal) who was once engaged to Angelo would have sexual intercourse with him but covered up. Those involved in the brothel industry are jailed for their crimes and are refused bail by Lucio, however, Pompey is offered parole if he aids in the execution of Claudio. Nonetheless, when the Duke suggests other prisoners to offer as a sacrifice, paradoxically, the ones that are selected by the Duke are not suitable and this causes concern to Claudio. At the finale, the Duke returns to Vienna with some sour words to say to Angelo, as well as, we learn that Claudio has been killed and this makes Isabella furious and is planning revenge, but is Claudio dead? Shakespeare’s narrative is acceptable as there are very agreeable and amusing moments present within the play; for example between Mistress Overdone and Pompey, on the other hand, there are aspects in the dialogue that could have captured more emotion.
One found the performances by the company of, ‘Measure for Measure’ to be exceedingly well depicted through gracious voice and dialect by Martin McKellan and choreographic sequences by Sian Williams. Kurt Egyiawan is grand as judge Angelo; particularly how his unremorseful nature suggests that with increased power shows how pretentious he has become, yet when he finds Isabella attractive it does suggest that he came be smouldering at times. Dominic Rowan is bounteous as Duke Vienciento; specifically when he poses as a Friar and how idea and methods of ruling Vienna is is completely different to that of Angelo and he is respected due to this as he realises that people do make mistakes. Joel MacCormack is virtuous as Claudio; especially when you see his anguish due to the fact that he is about to be killed for a ridiculous crime and when he breaks down in front of his sister it shows how much he does not want to die.
Dominic Dromgoole’s final directing role at Shakespeare’s Globe is floaty here as he has shaped a production that encapsulates the themes of justice and mercy in a titillating way as we can see the opposing views of Duke Vienceito and Angelo and their approaches to commanding the city. I would like to thank Dromgoole for his incredibly hard work and determination in his tenure as Artistic Director and break a leg in your future ventures. Jonathan Fensom’s designs are opulent as one could understand where one was in the play’s duration and the scenic elements complimented this with such finesse. Overall, the experience of, ‘Measure for Measure’ was a lovely way to end Dromgoole’sreign at Shakespeare’s Globe and with an interesting topic in the play it’s of a good standard.