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Shakespeare's Globe

2014 Season

Arms & the Man

Image of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre 2013


The 2014 Shakespeare's Globe season consists of four mainstream Shakespeare productions and four new plays. Interspersed are several touring and foreign language productions.

The opening production was "Titus Andronicus".This was a revival of Lucy Bailey's exciting production from 2006 with a new cast. Reports of groundlings fainting at the sight of poor Lavinia made the May Day newspapers. I saw "Antony and Cleopatra" directed by Jonathan Munby twice, or rather almost! "Julius Caesar" was directed by Dominic Dromgoole and brought the plebian crowd very much into the playgoers domain.

In July a new play called "Holy Warriors" by David Eldridge opened to very cool reviews, but as a playgoer who didn't plan to see the play I did feel it was worth the extra visit to the Globe.

"The Comedy of Errors" was a new production directed by Blanche McIntyre.

The season's productions are:-


Titus Andronicus

The awning over the yard for Titus Andronicus - Shakespeare's Globe 2013 In 2006 Lucy Bailey's production of this gory play caused numerous playgoers to faint, and in this revival with a new cast the mayhem in the Globe's yard continued.

I did not originally book for the play this time, but Gaynor persuaded me and I do not regret the decision. William Houston was a manic Titus, Flora Spencer-Longhurst an affecting Lavinia, and Indira Varma as the Goth queen Tamora was really enjoying the pie in the last act until she was told it contained her sons! Designer William Dudley wrapped the stage in black cloth and hung a dark mesh awning over the yard reinforcing the dark atmosphere.

Antony and Cleopatra

I'd booked for myself when tickets were first sold around Christmas, but when I found that Eve Best was to play the queen I immediately booked to see it again with Gaynor and her brother Paul a week later.

As it turned out that was a good decision. Half an hour before the end of my lone visit ther was a pause on stage - a pause that continued for many minutes. Eventually Globe artistic director Dominic Dromgoole emerged to apologise and report that a member of cast was feeling ill and that the performance was being stopped. The Globe would be in touch to announce compensation. They emailed a few days later and I accepted a free ticket to the new play "Holy Warriors" later in the season for which I hadn't booked.

I felt a bit guilty about accepting because a week later I did see the play completed. Eve best as the serpent of the Nile was incandescent! She has a unique relationship with the audience, flirting with goundlings but making playgoers around the Globe feel a personal link. Her Antony was Clive Wood, and it was reported that it was he who was taken ill the previous week. He was strong, soldierly and suitably beguiled. He certainly fitted the description of 'old ruffian' where his counterpart in the 2006 production was more suave lawyer - not at all what Shakespeare intended. Phil Daniels' Enobarbus wasn't enough in my view.

The production by Jonathan Munby was very good with excellent Arab music by Jules Maxwell setting the exotic scene.

Julius Caesar

Dominic Dromgoole's production emphasised the role of the ordinary Roman citizens, the plebians. They mingled with the playgoers in the piazza outside the theatre, and were still constructing the stage when we were allowed in. They were shouting and throwing food at each other when the Tribunes arrived to calm them down and tell them to go home.

This production featured no star actors, but Caesar himself played by George Irving looked the imperious part, older than most of the rest of the cast. One critic likened him to a Mafia godfather.

A very good production with effective music.

Holy Warriors

Another play which I didn't book for initially, but accepted the offer of a free seat following the premature conclusion of "Antony and Cleopatra" on my first visit. It is a new play by David Eldridge about Middle East conflict from the Crusades to the present day.

The first act told the story of King Richard the Lionheart versus Saladin. This was in a similar style to Shakespearian history plays - confusing trying to remember who was who and which battle was which. The second act saw Richard in purgatory where he was confronted by his mother Eleanor of Aquitaine showing him in confusing fast-forward style the region's history since his death. If we didn't know this history already, and most people won't, we are spotting the odd recognisable character - "Ooh look, that's Lawrence of Arabia". A speech by Tony Blair to the US Congress brought the house down! Cringe-worthy. The conclusion seemed to be to show Richard that it was all his fault, and so his mother gave a chance to have another go. The final section of the play is in modern dress and modern speech with modern swearing, and Richard came vey close to making peace, but as before his own pride caused the failure. Finally George W Bush marched onto the stage and declared himself the Holy Warrior.

This was a gripping play, but confusing and finally unsatisfying. The leading characters were played very well indeed by John Hopkins as Richard and Alexander Siddig as Saladin but Geraldine Alexander as Eleanor was outstanding.

The Comedy of Errors

Blanche McIntyre directed the mayhem, and she is tipped to be a star director of the future. She won the Critics' Circle award for most promising newcomer in 2012 among other awards. The play used Renaissance costumes and staging.

Unfortunately a medical incident prevented us from seeing most of the play but I believe it was very funny.



Original Globe

Original Globe Playhouse


In 1598 Shakespeare's acting company carried the timbers from the dismantled Theatre across the Thames to Bankside. There they used the timbers as the frame of their new playhouse they called the Globe. In 1613 it burnt down but they again rebuilt it. For more details click on the link.

New Globe

New Globe Playhouse


The American actor Sam Wanamaker worked hard for decades to make the new Globe a reality, but he didn't live to see it built. Here's the story of how the new Shakespeare's Globe came to be built on London's Bankside in the 1990's

Mike's Views, Reviews and Previews


A list of links to details and my reviews of every season since 1997 at Shakespeare's Globe


Globe Main

Globe Old & New top page


Recommended Books

Well Furlong Book Shop


My list of recommended books about the Globe, the Rose and other playhouses of the time may be found in the Globe Playhouse section of the Well Furlong Book Shop . If you so wish, you may go on to buy many of the volumes in our Book Shop directly from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.



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The official Shakespeare's Globe site

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