An early start on a Sunday morning saw me and my mum off to the train station on a trip to the London Globe Theatre, and neither train strikes nor the London Marathon were going to stop us. We arrived in London with an hour to eat lunch and navigate ourselves through alleyways to the Globe Theatre, and arrived just in the nick of time to find our seats and get settled before a small group of musicians on the balcony struck up a chord, and a hosepipe emerged to help the audience imagine the growing tempest.
Without giving spoilers, it is safe to say that the play was hilarious, and the costume choice wholly unexpected, but certainly spectacular. In particular, the comedic trio of Trinculo, Stephano, and Caliban won over the hearts of the audience and provided a modern touch which repeatedly supplied moments of hilarity. Occasional fantastically timed ad-libs were thrown in amongst the original Shakespearian text in response to sounds heard above and outside the theatre. Audience participation was also required mid-play, encouraging us to join in with a song, and the actors, being in such close proximity to the standing audience on the ground floor, often made direct reference to unexpecting onlookers. Each actor was brilliantly picked for their role, and, in contradiction with Shakespeare’s time, some male characters (Alonso and Sebastian) were played by women.
The production aside, the theatre itself was an object of amazement. Created to look almost identical to the original Globe Theatre, there were three levels overlooking a stage, with one part of the stage leading out into the middle of the standing audience, which helped to make the audience feel as if they were actually there, among the characters on the island. Altogether, this produced the feeling that we were back in Shakespearian times, out for a fun night out where actors and audience were part of one body with friendly banter thrown between the two. The Globe was also wheel-chair accessible, and it should be noted that during the Queen’s funeral, the theatre allowed the general public in to use the bathrooms, whether customers or not. We finished the experience off with a trip to the Globe giftshop, in which we found many Shakespearian delights, and I managed to convince my mum that it was in fact of educational value to me to buy the book of Shakespearian insults.
Tickets are still available from the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre website until the last show on the 22nd October. Prices are very reasonable if you don’t mind standing, and prices vary if you want a seat.