Henry IV: Parts 1 and 2: William Shakespeare

Henry IV: Part 1: William Shakespeare

(Shakespeare’s Globe, 2010)

My first encounter with Henry IV was via the BBC’s The Hollow Crown last year, when I was unexpectedly captivated by this story of a disappointed father and his wayward son. Afterwards I wished I’d had the sense to see Dominic Dromgoole’s 2010 production at the Globe (especially since I did see their 2012 Henry V, in which Jamie Parker reprised the role of an older, wiser Hal). However, my uncle very kindly bought me the DVDs of Henry IV for Christmas and I curled up with them this week, with ever-increasing pleasure.

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The Taming of the Shrew: William Shakespeare

The Taming of the Shrew: William Shakespeare

★★★★½

(directed by Toby Frow; Globe Theatre, until 13 October 2012)

Another splendid evening at the Globe last night, although very different in character from Henry V a few weeks ago. Raucous, bawdy and lively, Toby Frow’s Shrew is rich with physical comedy and slapstick. It’s fantastic to watch something like this at the Globe, because more than ever you come to understand the vibrancy of theatre in Shakespeare’s day. The audience feeds off the exuberance of the actors, who in turn draw it back from them: to see a successful comedy in this theatre is to feel symbiosis in action.

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