ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA
by William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare’s Globe 21 New Globe Walk SE1 9DT In rep to 24 August 2014.
1pm 10 Aug.
2pm 30, 31 July, 5, 13, 14, 20-22 Aug.
6.30pm 3, 17, 24 Aug.
7.30pm 29, 30 July, 1, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 15, 19, 21 Aug.12am 8 Aug.
Audio-described 13 Aug 7.30pm.
BSL Signed 16 Aug.
Captioned 5 Aug.
Runs 2hr 55min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7401 9919.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 27 July.
A world well lost makes a great gain for the Globe season.
Jonathan Munby’s production of Antony and Cleopatra may well be the finest part of the Globe’s Roman summer. Munby and his cast find a lot of humour in the first part, showing that – like Romeo and Juliet – this is a play full of life and love till death takes over
It’s a play with a world-view. The known world is displayed on a large wall-map after the interval, until it gets torn down. From the start, though, two world views collide. There’s the fun-loving irresponsible Egyptian society and the stern practicality of Rome.
Yet, from the start, Antony’s officers are perplexed and furious at his behaviour, while Phil Daniels’ Enobarbus becomes a tragic figure, able to appreciate Cleopatra’s magnificence and devoted to Antony but unable to follow his leader’s military folly.
The most desolate figure is Octavia, sister to one Roman leader, Octavius Caesar, and pushed into a political marriage with the other, Antony. There’s irony in Rosie Hilal doubling Cleopatra’s taciturn servant, Iras, with this Roman woman allowed to say little, reluctantly following her new husband as she clings to her brother.
Supposedly, there’s a third Roman leader. Lepidus is often played as someone who knows he’s weak. James Hayes’ distinctive portrayal reveals a man unaware of his insignificance, speaking out as if he has authority. Munby clearly shows the fate described for Lepidus, as he’s taken to prison, bound and gagged (Hayes also makes much of the Snake Man, played in Irish tones).
Clive Wood’s aging Antony has little taste for the empire on which he doubtless regards Jolyon Coy’s pallidly efficient Octavius to be wasting his youth. No wonder, when Eve Best’s rich, fascinating Cleopatra is the alternative fascination.
Light-mannered, with an easy, assured authority and the exaltation of love, she has a mercurial personality, rapid in speech (sometimes at the cost of clarity of individual words, but it hardly matters here), with a rich emotional depth that drives the playful moments.
She’s not always wise, but she knows when she’s beaten and calmly accepts death rather than life on lesser terms – a lass unparalleled.
Mark Antony: Clive Wood.
Octavius Caesar: Jolyon Coy.
Lepidus/Schoolmaster/Snake Man: James Hayes.
Octavia/Iras: Rosie Hilal.
Enobarbus: Phil Daniels.
Ventidius: Paul Hamilton.
Eros/Messenger: Peter Bankolé.
Canidius/Maecenas: Ignatius Anthony.
Scarus/Mardian: Obioma Ugoala.
Agrippa: Daniel Rabin.
Dolabella/Pompey: Philip Correia.
Thidias/Soothsayer: Jonathan Bonnici.
Proculeius/Menas: Sean Jackson.
Cleopatra: Eve Best.
Charmian: Sirine Saba.
Alexas/Menecrates: Kammy Darweish.
Director: Jonathan Munby.
Designer: Colin Richmond.
Composer: Jules Maxwell.
Musical Director: Genevieve Wilkins.
Choreographer: Aline David.
Voice/Dialect: Martin McKellan.
Fight director: Kate Waters.
Aerial consultant: Jack Horner.
Assistant director: John Haldar.
Assistant text work: Nicola Pollard.
Globe associate, Text: Giles Block.
Globe associate, Movement: Glynn MacDonald.