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Measure For Measure at Shakespeare’s Globe

Published 2 July 2015

What’s it all about?

Not one of the Bard’s best known plays and renowned predominantly for its questionable morals, Measure For Measure tells the story of the Duke of Vienna who departs his city, leaving his deputy Angelo in charge.

Except, he doesn’t, does he? This is Shakespeare after all and a Bardic comedy wouldn’t be a Bardic comedy without its fair share of disguise and trickery. So back comes the duke, under the guise of a friar, to observe Angelo’s callous actions. A man’s life and a woman’s virginity are at stake, but will justice and mercy win out?

Who’s in it?

Mariah Gale gives a delicate and compelling performance as Isabella, Dominic Rowan captures all the wit of the duke’s scenes in disguise and Kurt Egyiawan is suitably despicable as the blackmailing Angelo.

Petra Massey is a raunchy and outrageous Mistress Overdone and Dean Nolan almost steals the show with his downright hilarious portrayals of Elbow and Barnardine, the latter of whom – after a significant time in prison – bears a striking resemblance to a certain Hogwarts gamekeeper.

What should I look out for?

Nolan’s dancing, physical fighting talk, peacock-like provocations and… roly polies.

Lots of naughtiness from Nolan and Massey, often at the expense of Dennis Herdman’s Froth.

Isabella’s reaction to the duke’s proposal. Shocked doesn’t quite cover it.

In a nutshell?

Comedy prevails in Dominic Dromgoole’s final production for the Globe’s outdoor stage with an amusingly boisterous take on Shakespeare’s notoriously difficult play.

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Will I like it?

Measure For Measure is typically considered a Shakespearean tragicomedy, but in this raucous production directed by the Globe’s Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole, the focus is placed very much on the latter. The smiles on audience members’ faces – even those wilting in the pit – is testament to the show’s amusing entertainment and it makes for an exceedingly enjoyable night out… even on the hottest day of the year.

Measure For Measure is playing at Shakespeare’s Globe until 17 October. You can book tickets through the venue’s website.

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