Last Christmas, as a gift, Lady Hughes gave me two tickets to see A Winter’s Tale at the Globe Theatre in London.
The Globe is the recreation of the Elizabethan Theatre that stood on the same site when Shakespeare was alive. We did the tour last year and I’d said that I’d love to see a show there. It was a wonderful, thoughtful gift – so after much thought I offered to take her with me. It was the least I could do I suppose.
Clare actually presented the gift to me in the form of a globe paperweight, she then asked me to guess where we were going. I guessed wrong, and I sensed she was a bit disappointed when I shouted out ‘round the world trip’ – but hey, this is good also.
As it’s the winter season they don’t use the open air theatre, instead they have new indoor theatre, the Sam Wanamaker Theatre. This is still a recreation of an Elizabethan Theatre but its inside.
(Picture courtesy of Shakespeare’s Globe)
One problem we had was whether Clare would be well enough to travel as she was involved in an accident at work a week or two before, and had been poisoned. Just the day before we were supposed to go, she called the theatre to see whether it was possible to resell the tickets if we couldn’t go. In the end she felt that as long as we took it easy, she’d give it a go, so we jumped the train and headed off to ‘that London’ – as we call it in the North.
The theatre itself is wonderful. It’s small so you’re very close to the action and the whole thing is lit by candles. They’ve managed to do some deal with health & safety so there isn’t even the usual ‘exit’ signs to spoil the period mood.
The performance was excellent, lively, dramatic and surprisingly funny. The creative use of the limited staging and props kept it interesting, my only gripe was the cramped seating, but that’s the price of authenticity I suppose.
We stayed at the Hamilton by Hilton in Waterloo so everything was walking distance – which was nice.
The next morning we wandered over the Thames to Somerset House for a quick look before sticking our heads in the National Gallery which was somewhere else I’d wanted to visit after we went to the National Portrait Gallery a while back.
We couldn’t do too much as Clare was still recovering so we kept it light and were quickly jumping the train back home.
Overall, if you like the theatre and/or Shakespeare, I’d heartily recommend the Globe, it’s a different experience to other, more traditional theatres (which is a bit ironic if you think about it) but it’s still a lot of fun.