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Antony And Cleopatra at Shakespeare’s Globe

First Published 30 May 2014, Last Updated 6 June 2018

What’s it all about?

Shakespeare’s glorious tale of love that knows no boundaries.

Celebrated soldier Mark Antony loses his battle-sharpened edge when he falls for the famous Egyptian queen. Unfortunately that wit and steel is needed again when the men with whom he rules the Roman Empire come knocking. Lacking his previous strategic sharpness, and in de-Nile about it, things don’t go as planned for the once mighty warrior.

Who’s in it?

Olivier Award winner and Nurse Jackie star Eve Best creates a Cleopatra who is both lustful and lusty, lacking in pomp but bursting with passion-driven exuberance. Under the direction of Jonathan Munby she springs a right royal surprise, finding a wealth of humour in a play not usually associated with belly laughs.

RSC veteran Clive Wood – who returned to the press night cast after missing preview shows through illness, not that his performance showed any signs of lost preparation – makes an imposing Antony both in stature and speech. Ruled by hot emotion rather than cold strategy he is the perfect foil for Jolyon Coy’s buttoned down, uptight Octavius Caesar.

A special mention should go to Christopher Saul who, due to another cast member suffering an injury, played three roles on press night, reading from the script but allowing the show to go on.

What should I look out for?

Enough tightly toned torsos to impress a Game Of Thrones producer, though let’s hope the weather warms up for their sakes.

Cleopatra’s royal dress, which, with its striking headdress and embellishments, isn’t too dissimilar to an outfit you might see in The Lion King.

And Phil Daniels’ Enobarbus describing the regency and wonder of Cleopatra, though his description does not meet totally with the far more real queen we’re given by Best.

In a nutshell?

Eve Best flourishes on the Globe stage, creating a fabulous, fun and filthy Cleopatra. Her exuberance makes the finale all the more tragic.

What’s being said on Twitter?

@grahamsalisbury No Summertime Blues at @The_Globe with Phil Daniels as the ultimate Mod Enobarbus in Antony & Cleopatra! Get on the Magic Bus and see it!

@Lloyd67 Top work from the @The_Globe tonight in Antony and Cleopatra! Great bunch of actors

Will I like it?

It would be hard not to. This is Shakespeare’s Globe doing what it does best, presenting Shakespeare’s tales with little in the way of gimmicks, a few carefully chosen props to set the scene and incorporating its audience without becoming pantomime.

Best is at her best, brilliantly playful, desperately confused and totally devoted to Wood’s Antony. There’s romance aplenty and tension, but, above all, Munby’s production finds the fun in a relationship that is less about heads of state and more about a bickering couple whose love flows faster than an asp’s venom.

Antony And Cleopatra is playing until 24 August. You can buy tickets through Shakespeare’s Globe’s website.


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