I am a frequent visitor to Southbank, it's one of my favourite places in London but I have never visited the Globe Theatre until this week.
Beth had a placement there this summer as a wardrobe assistant during rehearsals for 'Much Ado about Nothing' ( or Much Ado about something as she called it as a child ) and they gave her 2 tickets as a thank you.
I had taken her a few years ago to see the David Tennant / Catherine Tate version which was a modern version set in the 80s and we enjoyed it but this was to be a whole different experience.
The original Globe was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company and it was destroyed by fire in 1613. The theatre as it stands now was built 750ft from the original site in 1997 and is magnificent. Nestled between modern buildings and dwarfed by the Tate sitting on the bank of the mighty Thames opposite St Paul's Cathederal.
There are 3 tiers of seating or you can stand in the Yard. Originally those too poor to pay for seats could stand in the Yard for a penny giving them the nickname 'penny stinkers' or 'groundlings' inflation has raised the price to £5 now days but that's still pretty good value and to be honest now I've been there, hard as it is to stand for 2 hrs 40 mins after a day's work on my feet, it is in my opinion the best experience.
The actors interact with the standing crowd in a way that just doesn't happen in any other theatre setting. They threw oranges at us and a tub of water down the steps. They could catch your eye, lean in and touch you and respond to heckling or a sneeze from the audience. It is very interactive and you feel part of a very unique experience.
Much ado being a comedy ( and one of my very favourites ) lends itself very well to this. It might be a more arduous task to stand for 3 hrs of Richard III or Macbeth!!
The cast was just 8 actors with them doubling up on parts. Men played women and women men.
Beatrice and Benedick were a delight, sparring with zest at each other and Christopher Harper gave an impressive performance. The best Benedick by far that I've seen.
Alex Mugnaioni also gave a stellar performance as Dogberry a role that Michael Keaton in the Kenneth Branagh film proved can be very difficult to get right!
I would recommend everyone to visit and take in a performance if they can. For £5 there is no reason not to give it a go......only let me know because I'd like to come too!