What: Pop-Up Globe – As You Like It
When: 21st September 2017
Where: Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne
Performances run until November 12th, 2017
For more information, please visit https://popupglobe.com.au
The pop-up globe has come to Melbourne, residing in the Shakespeare gardens of the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Melbourne audiences are the first in the world outside of Auckland to experience the temporary full-scale working replica of London’s second Shakespeare Globe (the first burnt down in 1613, before being rebuilt in the same location a year later).
Over six weeks audience can choose to see As You Like It, Othello, Around the World in 60 Days, Much Ado About Nothing and Henry V, or all five at a discounted price (see website for details). Tickets range from $20 to $300, although unlike most shows, the cheapest “groundlings” tickets may actually be the best, giving you access to the standing room in front of the stage. Although those unprepared for the unpredictable Melbourne weather may find themselves a little damp in the open concept theatre if it rains.
Entering the grounds, the sheer scale of the globe itself is impressive! Frankly, it is huge! Although fenced off to the public, outside there are a number of food trucks, perfect for those short of time to catch a bite to eat or a drink before the show starts, and a full merchandise desk is available too (I especially liked the well-designed t-shirts!)
Every facet of production design has been clearly considered – from the period costumes, set design and ceiling artwork (if you’re seated in one of the obstructed upper booths, make sure you look up on your way out). I especially enjoyed the sheep!
Opening night was a performance of As You Life It, performed by an all-male cast, as it would have been in the 17th century. Those unfamiliar with the story will appreciate its modern touches – from jokes, poems to sing-a-longs. Shakespeare‘s plays were written with contemporary references, and the creators have honoured this tradition. I don’t want to spoil the plot or surprises, but you can expect Shakespeare’s rudest offering in this rambunctious, interactive comedy of old-meets-new.
There are no weak players in this International cast, with some playing multiply parts and/or playing multiply instruments; all coming together in the end for a joyous, celebratory jig. If I was to say I didn’t feel like getting up and dancing, I’d be lying.
For those who haven’t or won’t ever get the chance to experience the real thing is London, this is the next best thing! It’s difficult to comment on other shows (as I’ve only seen the one) but it truly is a unique experience that one has to see to be believed!