Today, through rain and a slight chill in the air, I travelled into London to attend my first ever production of Shakespeare’s Othello.
Mind you, I have seen the Verdi opera and I do know the story but, even so, until you see the original, can you really claim to know it properly?
Of course it was a Weasel Occasion with the usual suspects. It was an extra special one for me given I missed the first one because of the Milan thing.
And so it was a rather garrulous bunch of Weasels that met at the Anchor. Normally we sit outside, by the Thames and watch the tourists stroll by. Given the rain, we thought it wiser to sit inside, drink, make noise and watch the various Morris Dancers jingle by.
I’m not sure what it was but there was a bit of a Morris dance-off thing happening around the area today. Men, women, accordions, bells, the whole shebang. And, of course, the tourists. There are always tourists.
Eventually we headed up to the theatre where we were held outside while someone was rushed off by the emergency services. We didn’t find out who but no-one could enter the theatre until the staff figured it was safe to do so. Fortunately this coincided with the rain holding off a bit.
Speaking of the rain, the Groundlings really suffered through it today. I’d say hats off to them for standing through such awful weather except they really needed the hats. They must have felt like drowned rats as they made their wet and slushy way off to where ever they were heading next.
But the play was excellent. More than enough to keep the wet heads in the pit engrossed so much they could ignore the drenching. In the comfort of our Gentlemen’s Box we were all gripped. And dry.
So engrossed, in fact, that when Othello slapped Desdemona, I was so shocked I gasped loudly, making all Weasel faces turn and look at me. I guess that’s a pretty good compliment to a performance, a loudly audible gasp.
Darren was a bit concerned by the racist overtones particularly given that very few people actually called Othello by his name in preference to his race. As usual, Darren was sitting next to me and every time an actor called Othello ‘the Moor’ he’d say “He has a name!“
The strength of this production was very much Mark Rylance as Iago. What a horrid chap. What a brilliant performer. A few years ago we saw him as Richard III and, again, he was superb. Apart from his acting skills, he also made Madam Edith’s birthday by raising an invisible glass to her during the curtain call dance.
The rest of the cast were, obviously, very good but were easily left in the shade beneath Iago’s evil. If I was to be very critical I thought Andre Holland as Othello wasn’t strong enough. A beautiful voice and very appealing to look at, he just didn’t have the strength I would have fancied Othello to have.
Jessica Warbeck as Desdemona was, for me, completely wasted. We saw her in Much Ado About Nothing a few years back and she was a splendid Hero but she just coasted through today. And it’s not her fault, Desdemona is just a wishy washy, misunderstood and suffocated character. Literally.
I rather liked Aaron Pierre as Cassio in what was his professional theatre debut. Catherine Bailey as the only female Doge I’ve ever heard of also deserves a mention, particularly when she also played the strumpet, Bianca.
All in all, they cast was tremendous and it’s definitely one of the best productions we’ve seen at the Globe. And everyone agreed.
Afterwards, as we stood outside the theatre waiting for the few wandering Weasels, I think Mark Rylance sneaked passed us on his way home…or to dinner. Madam Edith was stood next to me and I said “That may have been Mark Rylance that just walk passed us.” She was very excited but he’d gone. I softened the blow by saying I only thought it MAY have been him.
Of course we then headed to the George on the Strand for a few beers. Well, except for Lindy, Jollie, Lex and Bex who all had other places to be.
Just before St Paul’s, we were fortunate enough and surprised to see the longest line of portaloos I think we’ve ever encountered anywhere. Being archaeologists means we have a bit of a love/hate relationship with them but even so, it was quite an impressive line up.
By the time we hit the Coal Hole we had been reduced in numbers down to four (Lorna, Darren, John and me). It was here that Darren found a huge swadge of cash (for anyone who doesn’t know the Imperial measuring system, a swadge is in the hundreds) which we tried to hand in to the bar in case the poor owner returned for it. The bar man refused to take it saying we should just take it.
John, being the most mature, trustworthy and responsible one present took it in hand and went to look for a police station. (I guess it could have paid for our Short Weasel Holiday next week.) I walked down to Embankment Tube with Lorna and Darren.
Another lovely Globe visit.
BTW the title comes courtesy of Lex.