I’ve never had a particular interest in Shakespeare but earlier this year we did a family tour of the Globe Theatre, situated on London’s Southbank. We had an engaging guide and this led to taking my daughter to see a rather unconventional version of Romeo and Juliet. I had a rough idea of the plot, but in that moment the play came alive.
The one problem we had was that – despite paying for pretty expensive seats – we had an obscured view. A wooden pillar a couple of rows in front meant that I spent most of the time leaning to the right a bit to make sure I had a good view of the stage. The person next to me was very obliging.
Still, in the afterglow of the performance I booked to see Much Ado About Nothing. This time I wanted to be in the midst of things, in with the crowd, exposed to the elements, up close. This meant a couple of things:
- I got a ticket for £5 (!)
- I went on my own as my daughter refused to stand for 3 hours
Anyway, I got my clear viewpoint:
Being that close is a fantastic experience, a visceral connection. You get a face full of smoke. The gunshots ring in your ears. At times I had to shuffle forward as the cast passed through behind me to get to another stage in the crowd.
The performance was stunning, vibrant, poignant, funny. The play is set in Mexico, 1914, and was performed with such energy I completely forgot that it was in Shakespearean English and just enjoyed the spectacle:
At the end you feel elated and with the sense that you must have just seen the best show in London.
At the time of writing (mid September 2017) there is still time to see the production. If you can get tickets, I urge you to go even if you think that Shakespeare isn’t your thing. After seeing this, it will be.
Next year I will be back, regardless of what is showing.