Saturday night saw me heading for the new theatre at The Globe - the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, to see 'The Duchess of Malfi'.
The Sam Wanamaker Playhouse has only been open for just over a month, so this was my first visit to this theatre. And it was remarkable. A much smaller theatre, I think it seats only about 350 people, it is also enclosed. It is a very intimate space. The stage is slap bang up to the seating, so there really is no place for an actor to hide. Apparently, according to one of the stewards we talked to, some actors are not over keen on this amount of exposure, others love it. As for the theatre itself, it almost feels like being invited to a private performance. Quite wonderful. Although, as with the seats in the Globe, it is not the most comfortable 3 hours I've spent. Oh, for modern comfort.
To the production. Although I had studied the play at A Level, this was my first viewing of the play. Lacking the subtlety of Shakespeare, it is nevertheless an interesting play, with themes of implied incest, corruption, bribery and murder, hallmarks of a Webster play. I recognised some familiar faces from other productions at the Globe, who are always very good. Particular mention goes to David Dawson as Duke Ferdinand, who I last saw in the BBC's 'Hollow Crown' series as Prince Hal's companion, Poins. Gemma Arterton was very good too in the title role. Much use was made of candlelight, both in sconces and handheld, which I am sure will be a major feature of all productions in this theatre.
An entertaining production.
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