ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL
by William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare’s Globe 21 New Globe Walk Bankside SE1 9DT In rep to 21 August 2011.
1pm 29 May, 5, 12, 26 June.
2pm 11, 12, 25, 27 May, 2, 9, 23 June, 1, 20, 30 July, 12, 17 Aug.
6.30pm 29 May, 5, 12 June, 17, 24 July, 21 Aug.
7.30pm 10, 11, 14, 24, 28 May, 1, 4, 8, 11, 22, 25, 30 June, 19, 29, 30 July, 11, 16 Aug.
Audio-described 12 June 2pm.
BSL Signed 5 June 2pm.
Captioned 29 May 2pm.
Runs 2hr 30min One interval.
TICKETS 020 7401 9919.
Review: Carole Woddis 5 May 5.
Problem with the title, fun with the action.
A commoner marrying a prince. If Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well doesn’t exactly mirror the story of our recent royal nuptials, it comes close.
Not that I’m suggesting that our Wills resembles Shakespeare’s spoilt, immature anti-hero, Bertram who rejecting the resourceful `commoner’, Helena bounces off to war only to finally surrender to life’s lesson: that you can run but you can’t always hide from a determined woman. Indeed, for some, Helena’s status remains problematic and calculating in the way she chases after Bertram and wins him by trickery.
Shakespeare used all manner of sources for All’s Well (1602), that sits between Hamlet and Troilus and Cressida as one of the later, darker comedies, or ‘problem plays’. The text is strewn with sauciness possibly inspired by one of the stories of Boccaccio’s Decameron and hums with mythic folk tales.
`Problem’ though seems a strange description. Maybe it lies in the ambiguity of its ending (though no more so than, say, Measure for Measure). More perhaps, it is considered problem because of the riddle it its title. All’s Well that Ends Well? The end justifies the means? Marriage between two people whose journey to wedlock has been anything but smooth and involved disdain, rejection, bed tricks, talismanic rings and mysterious healing powers.
John Dove’s warm, Restoration-coloured production however, in keeping with the general bonhomie atmosphere of the Globe, foregoes doubtful resolution for the `feel-good factor’. Ellie Piercy (Helena) and Sam Crane’s thoughtful, revisionist Bertram seem unquestionably well-paired whilst Sam Cox’s King of France is wreathed in sunny, fairy tale smiles.
Add in the traditional Globe knees-up and you realise it’s no wonder the Globe continues to defy all auguries and survive without public subsidy.
Janie Dee, in her Globe debut, makes a compassionate Countess de Roussillon and there is the usual strong support from, among others, Michael Bertenshaw, James Garnon (the unforgettable, posturing King James V1 of Anne Boleyn last season, and again later this), Colin Hurley, Peter Hamilton Dyer, Sophie Duval and Naomi Branston. Together they are forming themselves, recognisably, into a `Globe’ company.
A happy part of Dominic Dromgoole’s new season.
Lafeu: Michael Bertenshaw.
King of France: Sam Cox.
Bertram: Sam Crane.
Diana: Naomi Cranston.
Duke of Florence/Rinaldo/Gentleman/Second Soldier: John Cummins.
Countess of Roussillon: Janie Dee.
First Soldier: Ben Deery.
Mariana: Mary Doherty.
Widow: Sophie Duval.
2nd Lord: Will Featherstone.
Parolles: James Garnon.
1st Lord: Peter Hamilton Dyer.
Lavatch: Colin Hurley.
Helena: Ellie Piercy.
Attendants & Soldiers: Laura Darrell, Nicholas Delvalle, Luke McConnell.
Musical Director/Flute/Recorder/Shawm/Dulcian: William Lyons.
Sackbut/Trumpet/Recorder: Paul Bevan.
Cornett/Trumpet/Shawm/Recorder: Nicholas Perry.
Percussion/Celeste: Neil Rowland.
Natural Trumpet/Cornett/Recorder: Richard Thomas.
Director: John Dove.
Designer: Michael Taylor.
Composer: William Lyons.
Choreographer: Siân Williams.
Globe Associate – Text: Giles Block.
Globe Associate – Movement: Glynn MacDonald.
Voice Coach: Barbara Houseman.
Assistant text work: Christine Schmidle.
First performance of this production All’s Well that Ends Well at the Shakespeare Globe 27 April 27 2011.