Shakespeare’s body of work is well-traveled by theatrical patrons – some might say imposingly so. Those unacquainted usually balk at the boredom and alienation they find; binning the schoolbook copy of
The romantic notion of a picnic with Prospero and friends under fairy lights is enticing - and really, the selling point of the piece
Well-rounded, grounded, and devoid of a patronising sugar-coating, there is definitely much to be enjoyed for the older audience member too. But for the well-acquainted amongst you, the show is a little limited and I would advise picking a meatier option from the Fringe menu.
Indeed, I feared upon arrival I’d entered ‘am-dram’ territory. But I came to be impressed by the standard of acting on show. The ultimate skill of taking on the mantle of any one of Shakespeare’s plays is to get to the truth of the meaning as opposed to getting tangled up in the prose. The Globe Players nailed it; if it wasn’t for their eponymous title, you would forget you are watching a Shakespeare at all. Diction and tonal, nuanced expression kept the truth tight and plot punchy, proving easy to follow.
Oliver Stephens, in particular, carries the piece. His physical energy and interaction with the audience engages from the get-go and there is a magnetism to watching him: he has that inherent charisma and likability often possessed by inspiring secondary school teachers.
The troop on the whole handles their copious costume and character changes with ease, deftly flickering between tragedy, comedy, and farce, while mostly retaining nuanced performances of the 20 or so characters they carry. Quite the challenge, considering that each scene is so iconic. Whilst Michael McEvoy takes up the mantle and gives us majestic renderings of Lord Falstaff and Lord Capulet, Joanna Lucas slightly stumbles into staginess tasked with Juliet’s balcony scene.
The Globe Players keep true to their eponym and put on an outdoor performance true to the period with stripped back costumes and sparse set and props. Whilst this erred on the side of gimmicky at points, it avoided over-complication and kept focus on the story. Unfortunately, the drizzle had other ideas and it became the ultimate distraction from what was a solid, albeit simple, production. The romantic notion of a picnic with Prospero and friends under fairy lights is enticing - and really, the selling point of the piece - though the very Scottish reality of it rather rains on the parade. Enthusiasm, energy and an engaging and entertaining performance is promised - good weather is not.