The Two Noble Kinsmen at Shakespeare’s Globe
A tremendous blast of fun, thrills and hilarity; Barrie Rutter’s The Two Noble Kinsmen is dancing up a perfect storm at Shakespeare’s Globe.
The Bard’s final play (a collaboration with John Fletcher) is based on The Knight’s Tale, the first story in Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. The princes Palamon and Arcite are the closest of friends. But things turn sour after they are imprisoned by Theseus when he defeats their uncle King Creon. While at first content as long as they have each other, the pair soon spot Emilia through the prison window. Both princes instantly fall in love with her and a bitter rivalry ensues.
The production is sprinkled with ambitious and flawless morris dancing routines that alone would be an impressive show to watch. But within this play, they add a lively and enthralling energy.
Nearly 400 years on, the humour of Shakespeare (and Fletcher) is still able to fill a theatre with roars of laughter. Though a lesser-known work of the iconic playwright, this staging is hilarious, aided by the perfect delivery from the cast. Rutter has directed a play with the highest precision comic timing.
Bryan Dick and Paul Stocker play the princes and provide a fantastically funny and likeable duo to follow. When they are off stage, there is a longing for them to come back. This is especially impressive given that this is Dick’s Shakespearean debut.
But that’s not to say the other actors and their characters aren’t just as sharp and entertaining. Francesca Mills as the jailer’s daughter turned madwoman is no less than amazing. Her dancing and comedy are some of the most joyous highlights of the play. And there are some brilliant moments between Hippolyta (Moyo Akandé) and Theseus (Jude Akuwudike).
To experience any Shakespeare at the Globe is magnificent, but a show so perfect as this is an even greater treat. The Two Noble Kinsmen is joyful, spectacular and easy to follow for those who are new to the dramatist’s canon. And as this particular play so rarely gets an outing – compared to the Bard’s better-known works – it is an absolute must-see this season.
Photo: Nobby Clark
The Two Noble Kinsmen is at Shakespeare’s Globe from 25th May until 30th June 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.
Watch The Two Noble Kinsmen in rehearsal here: