Tag Archives: shakespeare

A jolly good show #RSCtwelfth

Ordinarily, I don’t like Valentine’s day. It’s all very much commercialized hearts and flowers; I would be at home, in a sulk and watching box sets.

Not this year.

I decided to stop with the sulking, fly solo and indulge in one of the many things that make me happy. I went to see Shakespeare.

Not just your average Shakespeare show, either. I saw a live relay of Twelfth Night. (MAC Birmingham, you are awesome as always; spending my childhood there, this was a welcome return visit.)

I am no stranger to Stratford-upon-Avon, and over the last three years I’ve watched quite a bit of the canon. Greg Doran et al have done a cracking good job.  Sadly, I was a bit slow off the mark getting tickets for Twelfth Night in Stratford; so when news broke that it would be relayed live, I might have jumped a bit. Putting my membership of Sgt.Pepper’s lonely hearts club to one side, I forgot that it was booked for Valentines night.

The fact that Ade Edmondson was part of it, did rather make me smile. I grew up with re-runs of ‘The Young Ones’ and know of Bottom and Hotel Paradiso. I had intrigue as to how he might tread the boards. Beyond that, I went to the show with an open mind.

Thank goodness, I did!

I didn’t realise the Indian aspect of the production and the late Victorian setting. Two universes don’t collide per se, but merge and combine beautifully. The director and the costume designers have married these two concepts in a really rich, vibrant and effective way.

Then there is the cast.

In the last few years, there has been much said about the lack of BAME actors in theatre, in adaptations/productions of Shakespeare. This cast, was epic. I’ve yet to see an RSC production that isn’t diverse, doesn’t include BAME actors and doesn’t celebrate diversity. This production is more than Ade Edmonson’s Malvolio-he is truly extraodinary, though-there is a lady of Asian Ascent in a lead role-has been done before in midsummer’s night dream.  The fool-Beruce Khan-is cracking good comic relief. Belch and Aguecheek need their own sitcom.

Twelfth night really is about love turning the world upside down. The themes of falling in love with the wrong person, the wrong person being in love with you, being wronged by love when people quite literally mess with your head-Poor Malvolio-then there is gender, identity and sexuality. Shakespeare toyed with topics that four hundred years later are still in debate.

Watching this show, I laughed; I forgot that it was Valentines day. Remembered, that I love Shakespeare, that it reflects the world that I live in. This was wonderfully crafted, yet simple and effective production. I’m glad that I saw it, I’m glad that the cast was diverse. Dinita Gohil is great as the disguised Viola and a true inspiration with Beruce Khan, who wouldn’t be out of place in a Bollywood GOT. These two cast members really stood out for me as inspiration for future generations of BAME actors who want a place on the Shakespearean Stage.

Twelfth night really was a cracking good show. Strongly recommend you watch it. That you love, laugh and live it.

One episode of Shakespeare down, two more to go.

Allotmenteer Adventures Abroad

lake

Go find a body of water, the horoscope said. Go somewhere near the seaside. The universe kept on signposting adventures, a getaway, a chance to take stock.

I headed to Lake Garda.

This is the second Italian Lake I have visited, with Como being the first. The lake is pretty, the town where we stayed was lovely and it was fabulous opportunity to have a some down time.

I also turned one year older and thirty three is a the same age as a certain other someone with whom Easter is associated. I didn’t and won’t dwell on the age, the getting older. The silver bothers me, but I’ve been going grey since I was sixteen and I won’t always carry off being a brunette or raven haired. Yes, silver, and not grey.  I have so far resisted dying the barnet; not sure quite how long this non-compliance with social norms will last.  Silver hair doesn’t make me so marketable…I guess.

Anyway. This adventure!

First there was Verona.

This place piqued my interest from the Shakespearean angle. There is the balcony that (allegedly) inspired the poem behind the play ‘Romeo and Juliette’ so every where you see I heart Verona and ‘City of love’. (The cynic in me, took heart from the story about the merchant, who jumped the bandwagon with this is Juliette’s balcony, come have a look) I thought that was Paris, but anyway;  I didn’t feel the love for the love. Verona, yes; beautiful, lots of shopping and culture at ever corner.  I couldn’t help but think that that Romeo would have needed drainpipes for the balcony though. I’ll be damned if I’m shimmying up towards any balconies for a Romeo and anytime soon. The neighbourhood watch would be rather displeased to say the least!

Then there was the city of canals. Being a born and bred brummie, this was going to be interesting. Birmingham has more than Venice, we also have James Brindley. So you know, tough competition.

And this is where I felt the love. This is somewhere I would go back, and with someone special when he turns up. The Grand canal from the Realto Bridge is epic; the sheer size and the life that exists on the canal is pretty damned amazing.

As for the pigeons.

Duck.

Seriously, they are low flying. Dodge them.

 

I recall Venetian masked balls…ahem as it were.  I bought one, as you can see; it’s not sparkly or has half a bird attached to it but when in Venice. Then there was Venetian glass. Again, this is meant to  be pretty epic.  I frequented pen shops in both Verona and Venice, and felt like a kid in sweet shop. I feel as though my pen collection is not yet complete. There was window shopping of the Parker Sonnet in matte black, just to see what the deal was. But for now, that would not be entering the writing implement collection.

Venetian Glass plus pen and notebook was going to happen. I kid you not, I sampled a glass nib and I nearly keeled over. But I like my nibs and pens metallic, so I found one that I liked.  Rather than being a cartridge/converter pen, this glass stemmed pen is a proper old school dip in well sort. The notebook is covered with the seal of Venice; a lion with a book. Two motifs, that I can only my best to appreciate. No idea what I might write inside, but it will all come in time.

Was a very interesting adventure, and by the water.

#NaBloPoMo: Sampling Shakespeare: Much ado about nothing

Funny. This was play was funny.

imageFrom the opening moments, there is laughter, guffaws and giggles. Definitely more bang for buck compared to ‘Loves labours lost’.

The lavish sets and costumes are back, and boy do you still channel Downton. Though I did feel a bit of Jeeves and Wooster this time. The actors have done a switcheroo and the minors from the first show now occupy the major roles. To be fair, the fella who played bendick was a heavy weight in the first show. He now carries the show, complete with dirty giggle. You’ll know it when you hear it.

And talking about hearing things. The bad butler, he was a Bollywood! I for once, wasn’t the only Bollywood in the house! That was a surprise and a half I tell you. But his accent. Oh Dead Gods. Maybe, in being a born and bred Brummie, I can hear the idiolect rhythm and rhyme a mile off. And boy was it ghetto, or close to it. I got sounds of Dudley and Sandwell. It was rather disturbing. The boy butler, from the Black Country. I may have squirmed a little in my seat.

The costumes are exquisite. Lots of dapper looking chaps in twenties suits. Girls wear the most beautiful of age dresses. The word really is sumptuous.

Dogberry was a spot of light relief. The teapot scene was wonderfully crafted. Akin to something out of the Two Ronnies. Not a single word is uttered, but the meaning is clear.

Definitely more bang for buck compared to loves labours lost. A good night out, with good clean fun. A more positive story, written in a more fluid way. There was no part where you wondered when it would end.

The last word though. So much better than Joss Whedon’s attempt. Love that fella and his universe; but leave Shakespeare alone.