The Winter’s Tale at Shakespeare’s Globe
From its early performance in 1611 at the original Globe Theatre – intended to be accompanied by candlelight and music to give it a dreamlike quality – to its modern-day run on the open stage of the present venue, which stands proudly overlooking the Thames, The Winter’s Tale has remained a funny means through which to discuss the complex relationship of power between king and subject, and man and woman.
The play is set in two places: rural Bohemia, a modern and merry place of music and laughter, and courtly Sicilia, an open and cultured environment celebrating female establishment and freedom that is devastated by a sudden fit of jealousy and anger.
Priyanga Burford is a dignified and graceful Queen Hermione – the daughter of the Emperor of Russia and mother to the future king. The fall of the monarch reveals the precarious nature of rights for women, since not even her apparent privilege can protect her against the wrath of a jealous king.
Hermione’s principal and highly vocal defender Paulina (Sirine Saba) provides the energy and fierceness which the show needs as she towers above Leontes, exercising her right to speech and the will to seek justice.
Becci Gemmell as Autolycus has a superbly funny interaction with the old shepherdess and her son, played by Annette Badland and Jordan Metcalfe, respectively, both of who, she sends on a ship to Sicilia, where the play meets an abrupt end in the late Shakespearean style with a wrap up of the events that unfold.
Blanche McIntyre’s take on The Winter’s Tale, a story of vengeance, redemption, loss and forgiveness is simple in its portrayal with, regretfully, mere glimpses of music throughout. Nevertheless, with James Perkins’ design and Natalie Pryce’s costume design compromising of a mix of modern and comically classic outfits – especially at the end with the appearance of the gentle jester – the play maintains a fresh, quirky and confident outlook, and would make for an enjoyable evening for all the family.
Photo: Marc Brenner
The Winter’s Tale is at Shakespeare’s Globe from 22nd June until 14th October 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.