BWW REVIEW: Experience Theatre The Way Jacobean English Audiences Would Have With Pop-Up Globe's THE COMEDY OF ERRORS
Saturday 8th September 2018, 8pm, Pop Up Globe, Entertainment Quarter Moore Park
Sydney is treated to the unique experience of seeing Shakespeare's plays performed in a full-scale temporary working replica of the second Globe Theatre which housed the King's Men's theatre troupe at the beginning of the 17th century. The New Zealand Pop Up Globe company has constructed their historically accurate (as far as can be determined) POP UP GLOBE on the lawns of the Entertainment Quarter with 4 of Shakespeare's plays on offer including THE COMEDY OF ERRORS.
Whilst many would be familiar with William Shakespeare's farcical THE COMEDY OF ERRORS, the easier to digest, shorter of his plays, the treat of this experience is seeing it in the replica of the second Globe Theatre which used to stand in Southwark London. Whilst other companies have sought to replicate the first Globe Theatre which burnt down in 1613, the POP UP GLOBE is the only recreation of its replacement that stood for over 30 years before the English Civil war forced its closure and the land eventually resumed for housing. The theatre, constructed with contemporary materials, comprises 16 sided space with a covered stage and covered seating within the three levels of the outer walls and an uncovered 'yard' in the centre of the construction provides space for the cheaper standing room 'groundling' ticket holders. Whilst the exterior dimensions are as true a replica as Associate Professor Tim Fitzpatrick (Pop-Up Globe Founding Research Fellow and Honorary Associate University of Sydney) and Mr Russell Emerson (Pop-Up Globe Founding Research Associate, University of Sydney) could create based on extensive research, the interior is not necessarily an exact replica of the Second Globe Theatre but rather based on extensive research by Pop-Up Globe Research and Development team's Dr Miles Gregory and David Lawrence with scenic design by John Charles.
For THE COMEDY OF ERRORS Director Dr Miles Gregory blends the old world dialogue with some contemporary additions and an equally hybrid aesthetic. The troupe is divided into two Companies with the Southampton's Company performing both THE COMEDY OF ERRORS and MACBETH. As forewarned by the promotional material and signs around the venue, particularly in the Groundling area, this work is very much an interactive experience as the original productions would have been. Blood, which the producers assure the audience can be removed with washing, splatters the 'cheap seats' (standing Groundlings), as does water and other distributed debris and at least for THE COMEDY OF ERRORS the performers work their way through the crowd to the stage. Unlike the theatre that most contemporary audiences are familiar with, the POP UP GLOBE experience is relaxed viewing and THE COMEDY OF ERRORS is very much a pantomime style interactive experience at times. Depending on your endurance levels, the standing room Yard appears to be an interesting way to experience theatre.
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS is an easy plot to follow with a lot of scope for physical comedy which Dr Gregory has packed the work with. The Turkish music of Ephesus colours the work with musicians positioned at either side of the stage. Bob Capocci's costumes utilise the rich fabrics of the region for the bulk of the story whilst contemporary orange overalls making the restrained Egeon's plight immediately obvious and the modern clothes of the Syracuse master and servant implying that they were different to the residents of Ephesus in which they are trying to blend in and ultimately get confused for locals after donning a proffered disguise. The performances are all strong from the diverse cast of New Zealand, American, Australian and English performers who each ensure the work is clear whilst carrying the necessary dramatization or over-dramatization as the case may be. Aside from a few more risqué moments that might challenge younger audiences, THE COMEDY OF ERRORS is also a good introduction to Shakespeare and the Pop Up Globe experience.
POP UP GLOBE's THE COMEDY OF ERRORS is a wonderful piece of event theatre that combines a well-crafted production with a taste of history. A highly entertaining production and intriguing theatrical concept work experiencing for yourself
POP UP GLOBE
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS
(Photos: Supplied by Publicist)