Uncle David’s annual trip to The Globe took us to director Emma Rice ‘s swan song “Twelfth Night”. Now years ago they used to do Shakespearian comedies straight. They may have well have done them in Chinese. The language, puns and jokes were, well, 500 years old. So they have been edited, rewritten ,hammed up, coarsened up, splap sticked and generally jollied along to at least get a few laughs. Fine.
For the record the play’s plot is as ridiculous as any, twins are separated, their genders mixed up, Cupids arrows fly all over the place, below stairs fools and schemers hee haw and gallop and it all ends happily. The difference between Will’s comedies and tragedies is that in one everyone ends up married in the other dead. Of course Shakespeare is not famous for his plots but his poetry.
And I suppose thats why the brilliant Rice got the sack. For her play turns out to be part musical, part panto, all fun , singing and dancing and in all this whirligig the beautiful words (If music be etc) get lost ,except in parody. There are half a dozen brilliant comic turns, each one worthy to top of the bill. And the Globe heaves with audience participation, laughter and joy. As we are told it did when Good Queen Bess lived up the river. Down below in the pit you saw young ‘uns hysterical with mirth.
Bravo Emma Rice. Too many directors don’t mind if you sleep on their watch.. Not our Emma, she would give you your money back if you dared. Its not usually my place to support feminist radicals but she gets my vote. We are less for her exit. But as she said “I want to go out with splendour”. She has, every theatre goer should see her play.