by William Shakespeare and George Wilkins.
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse 21 New Globe Walk Bankside SE1 9DT In rep to 21 April 2016.
2pm 13, 20, 27 Dec, 10, 17 Jan, 21 Feb.
2.30pm 28 Nov, 11 Dec.
7pm 13 Dec, 3, 10, 17 Jan, 21, 28 Feb, 6, 13, 20, 27 Mar, 3, 10 17 Apr.
7.30pm 27, 28 Nov, 10-12 Jan, 16, 30 Dec, 7, 16, 20 Jan, 1 Feb, 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 Mar, 14, 21 Apr.
Audio-described 17 Jan 2pm.
Runs 2hr 50min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7401 9919.
Review: Timothy Ramsden 26 November.
A magic-carpet ride of a story, with a magical sense of human destiny in a fine, thoughtful production.
When William Shakespeare’s share of Pericles, Prince of Tyre begins, mid-storm at sea, the perfectly competent dialogue telling the kind of fashionable adventure story loved by audiences in posh Jacobean indoor theatres (upon which the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe is based), suddenly transmutes into poetry. The mind that wrote King Lear’s “Blow winds, and crack your cheeks” now invokes “Thou god of this great vast, rebuke these surges”.
Dominic Dromgoole, whose final project as Globe Artistic Director this is, offers Shakespeare’s four late romances, three ranging wilfully between countries and leaping o’er time – a 16-year gap mid Winter’s Tale, a 14-year jump in Pericles – followed by the opposite in The Tempest where the time-leap occurs before the start, but which still concerns sea-voyages, continents, and strange wonders. All build their adventures around the love between a father and daughter.
His production of one of Shakespeare’s less regarded plays is an emotional whirlwind of humour, seriousness, occasional liberties with the script and intensity in a small space, making the family lost-and-found story both radiantly happy in its outcome and near-tragic in its undertow of time lost amid the variety of nature’s changing course, alongside malice and virtue among the powerful.
Despite the title, Pericles is largely someone to whom things happen, leading him to profound depression. And, swashbuckler though it often is, the play is driven considerably by female characters.
Male rulers may be good or bad (in a mirror distortion of Pericles’ love for Marina, the daughter born at sea, his troubles start with an incestuous king/daughter relationship). And men provide useful humour. But the threats Marina faces suggest women beware women.
There’s also Sheila Reid’s choric Gower. The venerable Reid, diminutive in physique, never declares but confidentially imparts information she seeks to share with the audience, illuminating everything with clarity and subtlety of tone.
It’s possible to writhe and emote the way through Marina. Jessica Bagley provides instead an inner serenity determining Marina’s response to danger. And so time, for all the action’s often expansive fury, can seem suspended, the final dance having a rare ethereal magic.
Antiochus/Simonides: Simon Armstrong.
Marina: Jessica Baglow.
Antiochus’ Daughter/Diana: Tia Bannon.
Escames/Cerimon: Sam Cox.
Lysimachus: Steffan Donnelly.
Pericles: James Garnon.
Bolt: Dennis Herdman.
Thaliard: Tom Kanji.
Helicanus/Pandar: Fergal McElherron.
Leonine: Ryan McKen.
Thaisa/Dionysa: Dorothea Myer-Bennett.
Cleon: Daniel Rabin.
Gower: Sheila Reid.
Bawd/Lychorida: Kirsty Woodward.
Director: Dominic Dromgoole.
Designer: Jonathan Fensom.
Composer: Claire van Kampen.
Musical Director: Adrian Woodward.
Choreographer: Siân Williams.
Globe Associate, Text: Giles Block.
Globe Associate, Movement: Glynn MacDonald.
Voice/Dialect: Martin McKellan.
Fight director: Kevin McCurdy.
Associate director: Adele Thomas.
Assistant director: Rafaella Marcus.