“Oh dear, I went for a restricted view seat which cuts off the top of the set, and clearly there is a top of set which looks like things will happen on it” I think to myself as I sit down.
The wooden set is uncluttered and is obviously meant to resemble the Globe/Curtain stage. There’s a wooden floor and wooden stairs. There’s clearly also a wooden balcony and I can only see the lower railings. The set is used to great effect at the end of the play as the actors’ play is played to both the audience and back of the stage.
The production interweaves the romance between William Shakespeare and Viola with the story of Romeo and Juliet, and is enormous fun. They are the kind of jokes that made me feel a little smug when I recognised lines – well I have a bit of a Shakespeare theatre addiction! There are lots of one line jokes in placing Shakespeare’s lines out of context such as ‘out damned spot’. I find myself laughing at things like ‘the plays the thing’, and ‘knave to th’ chops’. There’s of course the ongoing joke that Marlowe wrote all Shakespeare’s best lines and that John Webster was a vicious child. There’s even a dog. And yes I’m thinking, it is a pity that Shakespeare did not write more dogs into his plays.
I have seen the film, and the stage play does follow most of the action of the film, but there is something particularly entertaining about being in the theatre and spending an afternoon with theatre jokes.
I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. Though the musicians played on the balcony and at times there were some scenes up there – including a famous balcony scene – being in Row T and having a restricted view of the balcony didn’t feel so bad at all.
Running until 18th April.