Monday, 9 June 2014

Antony & Cleopatra at the Globe


THE old adage of "the show must go on" was in full force on press night for the Globe's production of Antony and Cleopatra.
Clive Wood, who plays Antony was still recovering from a virus that had caused him to miss several previews and James Hayes, who plays three of the supporting roles, had slipped and injured himself before the evening so won't be appearing for a few weeks. Instead his part was read by Christopher Saul. And Eve Best as Cleopatra appeared to be wearing an ankle support.
These unfortunate incidents for those concerned didn't seem to affect the production at all - in fact it was entertaining, well acted and beautifully staged.
The play itself features some of William Shakespeare's most beautiful and evocative poetry and although it was hard to imagine the sunshine and the stifling heat of Egypt and Rome the language certainly shone through.
At its heart it is a story of a love, passion and lust between Antony and his Cleopatra which transcends everything and everyone.
Eve Best, one of this country's finest actresses, is Cleopatra and brings a mix of both vulnerability and playfulness to the role, flirting with the audience and planting a kiss on one man in the crowd.
She is bewitching and switches mood with ease, brilliantly portraying the mercurial character of Cleopatra.
She is paired with Clive Wood as Antony, a big burly man who inspires an incredible loyalty among his men even though his focus is more on Cleopatra. Indeed he is best when he shows the inner conflict he endures at being torn between his love for Cleopatra and his duty as head of the army.
However, for me there was not enough chemistry between the two. Although there were moments of tender love and emotion, it was not consistent and the sense that they were completely overcome with love for each other and couldn't keep their hands off each other was not strong enough.
That said it was an enjoyable production and there were some stand out performances, notably Phil Daniels as Antony's closest friend Enobarbus, and Jolyon Coy as the steely, and cold Octavius Caesar.

Antony and Cleopatra is on at the Globe, Bankside until August 24. Tickets from £5. Call the box office on 020 7401 9919.

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